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" EGYPT,"' ETC. 


HUTCHINSON & CO. (Publishers) LTD. 
34-36 Paternoster Row, London, E.C. 4 

Made and Printed in Great Britain at 
Tht Mayflower Press, Plymouth. William Brendon & Son Ltd. 


THIS book has been written for a particular purpose. There 
are some revolutions that reveal at once to every eye their 
effects on the changes and chances of this mortal life. 
There are others that, silently and all unseen, change 
the foundations of life without challenging it to its face. 

We have, since the war, been living through two revolutions — 
possibly more — but two at least of the first importance. The one is 
a revolution in social policy. Started by the seismic catastrophe 
of the war and from the region where the eruption most completely 
broke up the strata of society — Russia — this eruption set up a tidal 
wave of revolution south, west, and east, that threatened to submerge 
and subvert our political and social structures. At its approach 
most of us banded together to build dykes to shut it out and to save 
our property — some few of us set to work building dams to shut it in 
and use its power. But all of us have been so preoccupied with this 
tidal wave of revolution from the East that we have overlooked a 
rising tide of revolution that has been flooding in on us steadily 
and ever more strongly from the West. 

The revolution in sea power, of which the sanction is the American 
Navy, is really far more of a menace to the existing order in our 
points of view and policies than is the revolution in social policy. 
But it is even less a menace to our peace and prosperity and even 
more a means to recover our position and progress provided we 
realize how to accommodate our old ideals to it and how to adapt it 
to our real interests. Yet we can do nothing until we recognize the 
new factors it has introduced into our old problems and the new 
forms in which it has recast them. The purpose of this book is to 
present a picture of these new forms and factors so that this unseen 
revolution may be realized. 

Anyone can present a terrifying picture of a " tidal wave ,r 



revolution, and any danger there may have been in England and 
America from any spectacular eruption of Russian revolution is long 
past. But it is a far more difficult matter to present a picture of the 
progress of a revolution by gradual and, for the most part, unper- 
ceived, stages ; and to provide plans as to using it for the develop- 
ment of peace. One of the authors remembers as a boy a day's 
back-breaking building of dykes on the bank of a flooding river to 
save a farm. Returning with the farmer and his hands in the 
evening they found the flood had risen through the gravel and had 
drowned most of the stock. A study of the subsoil and levels would 
have saved the farmer his labour and his live stock. But all he had 
seen was the obvious menace from the main stream that mattered 
little. So readers will have in the following pages to face some study 
of the subsoil of the subject, and some records of the levels of 
forgotten floods. 

In presenting their picture of this unseen revolution in sea power 
the authors wish to acknowledge how much it owes any impression 
it may make to certain of the illustrations for which they are 
indebted to General Groves, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., Secretary-General 
of the Air League of the British Empire, who first brought them to 
public notice in England. It seems to them that a glance at these 
latest types of floating fortress will convince the reader that the 
battleship has reached that extreme of complexity and that extra- 
vagance of cost that is the last phase of an engine of war. And that 
another glance at the destruction, in a few minutes, of these mechani- 
cal monsters that cost millions upon millions of pounds and that carry 
thousands of the most skilled maritime workers, will convince the 
reader as to the revolution in sea war that has accompanied the 
re-alignment of sea power brought about by man's conquest of 
the air. 

This book has been written for no party purpose. The authors 
are pacifists ; but no more so than most of their countrymen and 
many professional sailors and soldiers. Their point of view looks at 
the future in the light of the present rather than of the past ; but 
is realist rather than radical. In their proposals they have followed 
the policies of the present British and American Governments 
wherever they seemed to them sound. Both their argument and their 
appeal aims at a re-orientation and re-inspiration of the policy of the 


British people as to sea power that far transcend the restricted 
region of party politics. 

But they believe that just as the war between the British and 
German peoples might have been avoided but for mistaken points of 
view and policies in the ruling classes of both nations and principally 
of the German rulers — so if war between British and Americans is 
to be avoided, mistakes will have to be corrected on both sides and 
principally in the points of view and policies of the British ruling 
class. They know that in taking this view they are inviting the 
indictment that they are the sort of critics who always condemn 
their own country. But " My country right or wrong " has never 
been an article of the British creed. And " My cabinet right or 
wrong " is not even partisanship — still less patriotism. Rather we 
prefer that larger patriotism of Lowell : 

" Our true country is bounded on the north and the south, on the east 
and the west, by Justice, and when she oversteps that invisible boundary 
line by so much as a hair's breadth she ceases to be our Mother." 

As the authors assume at times in the following pages an air of 
authority in naval affairs and in Anglo-American relations and as 
they hope to include among their readers Americans who may not 
be aware of or able to check such claims as they may have to such 
authority, it has seemed advisable to add a brief review of their 
record in this respect. 

The one is a professional sailor. He served for seventeen years in the 
Royal Navy, including the war period. During the War he was for 
a short but critical period in the Plans Division of the Admiralty War 
Staff. He left for an appointment in the Mediterranean which enabled 
him to see the latest developments of war on sea-borne commerce at 
close quarters. He returned to the Grand Fleet in time to be present at 
the final surrender of German sea power. He resigned from the Navy to 
enter Parliament where he has for nine years represented the shipping, 
fishing, and manufacturing port of Hull. Having entered political life 
as a Liberal he joined the Labour Party in 1926, resigned his seat, 
and was re-elected, having carried his constituency with him. 

During his service at the Admiralty he assisted the co-operation 
between the British and American fleets. Since the war he has 
visited America, and maintains contact with the pacifist movements 
and naval authorities there. 


The other comes of a family that has for many generations been 
represented in the Navy and which was founded by an Admiral who 
played a large part in the eighteenth-century wars that established 
the Empire. He served for twenty years in H.M. Diplomatic Service, 
being three years in Washington under Lord Pauncefote, when 
British and Americans first adopted arbitration in their relations, 
and four years under Lord Bryce, when by arbitration they " cleaned 
their slate." During the war, being over-age, he served first in the 
Admiralty Intelligence Department and then volunteered in the 
ranks and was commissioned in the Royal Marines. Since the war 
he has worked for the Labour Party on their Foreign Affairs Com- 
mittee, in various crises abroad, and as candidate for his home 
division. He was until lately a Professor of London University and 
is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

It is in the character of admirers of the traditions of the British 
Navy that the authors have written. They hope they may not live 
to see their country sink to the position of a secondary sea power 
subjected at sea by hopeless competition or desperate conflict to a 
more powerful and peaceable State. They hope they may live to 
see British Command of the Seas find a worthier end in peacefully 
founding that Freedom of the Seas for which it so often fought. 





Sea Power v. Land Power . 
Sea Power and Sea Police . 
Sea Police and Sea Sovereignty 
Command v. Freedom of the Seas 
British Sea Power in Peace 
Command of the Seas in War 
International Law of the Sea . 
Sea Law = Naval Policy 
Freedom v. Command and United States v. United Kingdom 

r Independence 

Page 87, line 34 : for £350 read £330 

OF l8l2 

rld Piracy 


American Civil War — The R6les Reversed 

The Civil War and British Sea Power 

Spanish War and American Sea Power 

A Digression into " Agression " . 

A First Anglo-American Alliance 

An Anglo-American Armed Neutrality 

Imperialism and Internationalism 

The Hague Conference 

Immunity of Private Property 

Contraband and Blockade . 

The Declaration of London 

Law, War and Peace . 









The Naval War and International Law 
The War of Reprisals 
German Submarine Blockade — First Form 
British Super-Blockade — First Forms 
British Super-Blockade — Later Forms 

6 7 






The New Naval Warfare causes American Mediation 

German Submarine Blockade and America 

British Wireless Blockade and America 

America enters the War 

The Success of the Submarine Blockade 

The Submarine Surprise 

The Submarine takes the Offensive . 

The Submarine and Neutrals 

The Submarine Blockade — Its Results 

America as an Ally — Why it Began . 

America as an Ally — What it Meant . 

America as an Ally — How it Worked 

America as an Ally — How it was Wasted 

The New Naval Warfare and the Old 

Commerce Destruction by German Cruisers 

Can Cruisers Protect Commerce . 

The Submarine Menace 

The Aeroplane Menace 

Air-Blockade and Commerce Destruction 

Air and a Gas Blockade 

An Anglo-American Air War 

The Warship an Obsolete Weapon 

Air-Blockade the Future Weapon 

Naval War Revolutionized 

British Policy must be revised . 

Naval Blockades Obsolescent 

Naval Blockades Blocked . 

Naval Blockade must be abandoned . 



Freedom of the Seas — German Version 

Freedom of the Seas — Neutral Version 

Freedom of the Seas — British Version 

Freedom of the Seas — American Version 

Freedom of the Sea is dropped . 

President Wilson's Defeat . 

Why America builds a Big Navy 

American Disgust at Peace Treaties 

American Policy of Pressure 

Washington Conference Convened 

Washington Conference Converted 

Washington Conference — Political Consequences 

Washington Conference — Naval Consequences 

Washington Conference Counter-attacked 

Disarmament must be Coercive 

British seek Cruiser Command 

Geneva Conference " Mal Vu " 

Geneva Conference Mismanaged 

Geneva Conference Deadlocks 

Geneva Conference — British Case 

Geneva Conference — American Counter-case 



Geneva Conference — The Real Conflict 
Geneva Conference — How it Collapsed 
Geneva Conference — Why it Collapsed 
Geneva Conference — Where it Collapsed 
Proposal for prohibiting Submarines 
Proposal for prohibiting Aeroplanes 
Geneva Failure — British Attitude 
Geneva Failure — American Action 
American Big Navy Building 
Naval Competition — A Check and a Chance 
Anglo-American Alienation 
Anglo-American Amicability — A Suggestion 
British Attitude to America — A Criticism 
Uncle Sam — The Bogey-Man 
British Attitude — A Counsel 



Another Anglo-American War approaching 
Anglo-American Political Antagonism 
Anglo-American Business Rivalry 
Pacifist Protest and War Propaganda 
Anglo-American Association the only Security 
Anglo-American Association Advisable for both 
Americans can't do without British . 
No Time to Lose ...... 

Should we wait for a Labour Government ? 
What are the Prospects of Agreement ? 
Sentimental Difficulties .... 

Agreement must precede Disarmament 
Neutralization of Narrow Seas . 
Neutralization, Germany and Russia . 
Neutralization and the British . 
Neutralization and the American Senate . 
Neutralization and the American People . 
American " Outlawers " and British " Leaguers 
Revision of Sea Law — Contraband 
Prohibition of Trade in Munitions 
Revision of Sea Law — Blockade . 
American " Legalism " and " Anti-Leaguism " 
War — " Aggression " and " Renunciation " 
War must be stopped at each Stage . 
There are Wars and Wars .... 

How Wars have been stopped 

How Wars should be stopped by Stages 

An Anglo-American Treaty against War . 

Various Checks on War compared 

How can British and Americans come together 

Gestures and Gifts ..... 

A " Freedom of the Seas " Gesture . 

A " Monroe Doctrine " Gesture . 

Danger of Delay ..... 




Anglo-American Arbitration 257 

Franco-American Arbitration 258 

Anglo-American Conciliation ...... 260 

Conciliation and Arbitration Compared .... 261 

Anglo-American Association and League Revision . . 263 

A Regional Revision of the League 265 

The Suggestions summarized ...... 269 

A Last Appeal ......... 270 


I. Treaties 271 

A. (1). Diplomatic History of the Rush-Bagot Agreement 271 
(2). Text of Agreement . . . . . .272 

B. League of Nations Covenant. (Extracts) . . 272 

II. Resolutions 273 

A. Resolution submitted to the Senate by Senator 

Borah ......... 273 

B. Resolution submitted to the Senate by Senator 

Capper ......... 275 

C. Resolution introduced by Congressman Burton . 276 

D. Resolution adopted by the Labour Party Annual 

Conference at Blackpool, October, 1927 . . 277 


A ioo-lb. Phosphorus Bomb striking the Fighting-top of 

U.S.S. ALABAMA Frontispiece 


United States Frigate Constitution (Old Ironsides), First War- 
ship of the American Navy 32 

Latest Type of American Submarine — V. 2 .... 48 

British Submarine M. i, mounting i 2-inch Gun .... 64 

Sailing Ship torpedoed by Submarine 80 

The End 96 

Cargo Steamer torpedoed by German Submarine U. 35, April 

1917 . . • 112 

U.S.S. Illinois torpedoed and sinking 128 

Seaplane launched by Catapult in U.S.S. Tennessee . . 144 

Battleship Arkansas torpedoed by Aeroplane . . .160 

Two Aeroplanes making a Smoke Cloud at an Altitude of 

Several Thousand Feet 176 

A Vertical Smoke Screen being laid by a Single Aeroplane . 192 

Battleship Alabama struck by 300-LB. Aeroplane Bomb . . 208 

U.S.S. Virginia after Fusillade of Bombs from Aeroplanes . 224 

H.M.S. Hood, Largest Warship in the World, in Panama Canal 240 

United States Battle Fleet in the Pacific .... 256 


• V , 



FREEDOM of the Seas is the converse of Command of the 
Seas — though it is also, as we shall show, its complement. 
Command of the Seas has been the Palladium of the British 
since the institution of the United Kingdom. Freedom of 
the Seas has been the Palladium of the Americans since the inde- 
pendence of the United States. In defence of these principles the 
two peoples have gone to war with one another and may do so 
again. " International Law " distinguishes between these doctrines 
as being the rights of belligerents v. the rights of neutrals — a dis- 
tinction that seems as fundamental a difference as that between 
war and peace. Yet we shall not have much difficulty in shewing 
that these two policies do not fundamentally conflict (Chap. I) — that 
Americans and British fought side by side at sea for a new joint 
policy in the Great War (Chap. II), that this new joint policy has 
been taking shape during the decade of peace (Chap. Ill), and that 
the time has come when it can be expressed in principle as 
" International Law " and practically enforced (Chap. IV). For 
the fact is — and our object in this book is to substitute an acceptance 
of facts for an allegiance to fictions — that the relations of these 
two peoples in respect to sea power and the realities of sea power 
itself have been so materially modified that such a joint policy is 
now not only possible for them but is imposed on them. Such a 
policy could equally well be called an Anglo-American Freedom of 
the Seas or an Anglo-American Command of the Seas. We shall — 



to avoid antagonising anyone — call it an Anglo-American Armed 
Neutrality, and the fundamental principle and purpose of such a 
policy is pacification by sea power. 


" Sea power " or Command of the Seas has always been so 
imperative in its action — so imperial in its authority — so imperious 
in its attitude — that it has only been tolerated when asserted and 
accepted as " sea police " or Freedom of the Seas. In the earliest 
historical times when the world was still confined to the Narrow 
Seas and the High Seas were only an encircling River of Ocean, sea 
power could be exercised by Land Power in command of Narrow 
Seas or navigable straits. The present conflict between lesser sea 
powers fighting for Freedom of the Seas and major sea powers 
enforcing their Command was then only beginning. The fight then 
often was, as it sometimes is still, the effort of the Sea Power in 
command of the open sea to prevent a Land Power or lesser Sea 
Power from closing a narrow sea. 

For example, in the Trojan War the real cause of war seems to 
have been the pressure of Greek sea power to free the Straits from 
the control of their Trojan kindred. In Helen, the daughter of the 
Swan Goddess carried off from her home in the iEgean to the 
Hellespont, we can see a poetic presentation of a challenge to Greek 
sea power. In the League of the Suitors to resist any rape of the fair 
Sovereign of the Seas from her lawful husband we have the first 
example of an " armed neutrality " against the piratical raiding 
of a lesser Sea Power challenging an established Command of the 
Seas. We had, indeed, much the same issue fought in much the 
same way at much the same place when the Allied Sea Power, again 
based on Lemnos, besieged Turco-German Land Power at Gallipoli. 
And if in modern war propaganda the ugliness of the Hun re- 
placed the beauty of Helen as a cause of crusade, and official 
histories replaced the Homeric Epic, these are only differences of 
detail due to the advantages of civilization and the advance of 

Though the World has grown, geographically at least, since then 
and the High Seas are now more important as a field for sea power 


than the Narrow Seas, conflicts are still possible in the Narrow 
Seas between Sea Power and Land Power, between Command 
of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas. Such a conflict might 
still arise, for example, at these same Straits over the Treaty of 

It very nearly did arise in 1922 when the British fleet was 
occupying Constantinople in the interests of international trade 
and the victorious Turkish forces were pushing in between and 
behind the outposts of the British covering troops. It would have 
then arisen but for a division in the Coalition Cabinet between, on 
the one hand, Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Churchill pursuing the pro- 
Greek policy of the Foreign Office, and the pro-Turk party of 
Conservatives backed by the War Office. The decisive factor was 
the failure of Mr. Churchill's cable to the Dominions in evoking any 
support from them for saving that commercial centre at Con- 
stantinople for which they had sacrificed so many colonial lives in 
the Homeric battles of Gallipoli. 

Such a conflict might also have arisen on the Great Lakes, in spite 
of the Rush-Bagot agreement, when the Caroline was sent blazing 
over Niagara Falls. It might have arisen again when we used the 
Suez Canal to crush Egyptian Nationalism under Arabi — or when 
Congress tried to exempt from tolls American vessels in the Panama 
Canal on the ground that they were coasting trade, and were only 
stopped by President Wilson enforcing the moral obligations of the 
Hay-Paunceforte Treaty. Wherefore the possibility of such conflicts 
in the Narrow Seas will have to be provided against in these pages. 


But the main issue we have in view concerns not the Narrow 
Seas but the High Seas. And the High Sea first appears in our 
political history as the Mediterranean. Until the entry of America 
into world economics a command of the Mediterranean carried 
control of the world's commerce. And to such a sovereignty of the 
High Seas the peoples of the world would only pay toll on terms— • 
that is, in return for the Sea Power providing an adequate and 
advantageous sea police. In other words, people will let power tax 
them if it gives them peace — which is the social contract underlying 


all sovereignty. It is only when such Sovereignty of the Seas is 
exploited by one interest or institution, to its own advantage 
without exercising any service in return, that the doctrine of 
Freedom of the Seas finds a champion, and becomes a challenge to 
Command of the Seas. Thus, the supremacy at sea of the Romans 
was accepted because the service of Rome to commerce and civilisa- 
tion in suppressing pirates was greater than its disservice in sup- 
pressing the world commerce of its rival sea power, Carthage. " I 
am the Lord of the World and the Law of the Seas," declared the 
Emperor Antoninus Pius (a.d. 138-161), and the sea world assented ; 
though Marcianus, Celsus and Ulpian had already formulated a 
doctrine of Freedom of the Seas. Pompey was accepted as " the 
Great " because of his service to civilization, when, armed with the 
extraordinary powers of the Lex Gabinia and the whole naval 
power of Rome, he cleared the Mediterranean of piracy. But when 
in Rome's decline the Greek Emperor became principal shareholder 
in a piratical Company, not all the Byzantine galleys manned by 
Turco-poul marines and Gasmoul mariners, and armed with the 
latest device in Greek flame-throwers, could keep the Command of 
the Seas for the Empire. When the sea supremacy of the Empire 
broke up, Sovereignty of the Seas was exercised, if at all, by 
associations of maritime and mercantile interests agreeing and 
applying conventional or customary codes, like the Laws of OleYon ; 
and we then get the first appearance of an international sea-law 
under conditions somewhat similar to those that face us to-day 
with the approaching end of British sea supremacy. For what is 
wanted to-day is just such an association of independent interests 
in sea trade and traffic for the formation of an armed neutrality 
to frame and enforce a corpus of sea law. 

Side by side with these codes of sea law, that secured the police 
of the High Seas, went claims to special Commands of the Narrow 
Seas for their policing. The " Sanction " in the first case was the joint 
naval force of an " armed neutrality '■■ concerned with Freedom of 
the Seas — in the second case, that of the national fleet that was 
claiming Command of the Sea in question. Both were acceptable 
in an age when not only commerce but civilization itself was 
imperilled by piracy. Mediaeval piracy is looked on by us in the 
light of our own nationalized civilization as the last challenge of 


Eastern barbarism to European civilization. But it was much more 
than that. Piracy was an international institution. The so-called 
" Turkish Corsairs " and " Barbary rovers " who ravaged our 
commerce and coasts were only too often European adventurers. 
You can read the account by an eye-witness of the gallant defence 
of the English trader Dolphin in 16 17 against five " Turkish pirates " 
— but the names of the pirate leaders were Walsingham, Kelly, and 
Sampson. One of the present writers, investigating some newly 
discovered archives of the Levant Company, found that the whole 
crew of the most successful Levantine pirate craft in this golden age 
of Elizabeth were Scots. Such were the " Turks " or " Rovers " 
who in 1625 captured 1000 British seamen, and in 1631 sacked 
Baltimore and enslaved 231 men, women, and children. 

It was to eradicate this cancer from civilization that Charles I 
levied ship money and Oliver Cromwell built up a national sea 
power and a naval sea police. But as late as 1656 the Dunkirkers 
instructed released captives to tell the Protector that — 

" while he fetches gold from the West Indies they will fetch his coals 
from Newcastle," 

and piracy long survived in Southern seas. The walled hill-cities 
of the Riviera, which British and American tourists find so pleasing 
and French and Italian hotel-keepers so profitable, the Scandinavian 
population of East Anglia to which Americans owe their Pilgrim 
Fathers and the British owe their pioneers of rural reform, are both 
the compensations of Providence for centuries of death and desola- 
tion during which no vessel could sail the seas in safety and no 
coast village could sleep safe without walls and watch-towers. 


This early sea power was thus very closely and clearly bound up 
with sea police. For this reason the claims of Venice to sovereignty 
over the Adriatic — of Genoa over the Ligurian Gulf — of Sweden 
and Denmark over the Baltic — of Saxon and Norman Kings of 
England over the Channel, were not contested. In 1320, Flemish 
envoys prayed Edward II, as " head of the sea," to " cause right 
to be done against the pirates." But, even so, direct toll-taking of 


foreign shipping for police services was soon renounced by prudent 
princes, and we find that in 1420 a recommendation by Parliament 
that toll be taken from foreign shipping was rejected by the King. 
Later with the decline of piracy these claims degenerated into 
ceremonial, like the marriage of the Doges to the Adriatic or the 
lowering of topsails and striking of colours to British warships in 
the Channel. This latter, a vestigial survival of stoppage for search 
and seizure, maintained for prestige, became a fruitful source of 
trouble before it was dropped in the seventeenth century. Sea 
power, thus degenerated into sea prestige, inflicted a personal 
insult that in the end had to be wiped out in war when an English 
Admiral fired on Philip of Spain for flying the Spanish flag in the 
Channel on his way to marry the Queen of England. Again, that 
adroit diplomatist, Charles II, persuaded the British that " the 
honour of the flag " compelled them to go to war with the Dutch — 
though these were their racial and religious allies in the fight against 
French sea power — because the whole Dutch fleet had not lowered 
its topsails and flags to an Admiralty yacht carrying an ambassadress. 
Happily, international law now regulates ceremonial to the pre- 
vention of such follies. Ambassadors are no longer a public danger 
even while at sea. 


As the civilized world distributed itself into National States, 
distinct regionally, racially, and religiously, rivals in commerce and 
culture, and resentful of the least restriction on their sovereign 
status either on land or at sea, Command of the Seas by the dominant 
naval power was contested as soon as it became offensively self- 
interested and not obviously serviceable. And as these new nations 
of the modern world expanded to the limits of their land frontiers 
and launched out into overseas exploration and exploitation the 
competition for commerce and colonies caused any claim to sea 
power and sea police to be challenged, even when it was in the 
interests of the peace or police of the seas. When the Papal 
Authority, the successor of the the Roman Super-state, in the 
interests of peace divided the discoveries in African waters by the 
" Donation " of Calixtus and Sextus IV, the arrangement was 


apparently accepted, much as was the international partition of 
Africa in the Berlin Act. But when Pope Alexander VI — a Spaniard 
— by the " Bull of Demarcation " divided the lately traversed 
Atlantic and the newly discovered America between Spain and 
Portugal — the leading Catholic sea powers — as mandatories of the 
ecclesiastical Super-state, thereby giving them a monopoly of these 
new markets, the Protestant sea powers — England and Holland — 
successfully asserted the Freedom of the Seas against this Papal 
partition by an unrestricted sea warfare little short of piracy. And 
it was in defence of these somewhat piratical procedures that 
Grotius later wrote his famous treatise that formulated the doctrine 
of Freedom of the Seas. His Mare Liber urn, by evoking the 
Mare Clausum of Selden, first started the controversy between 
Freedom of the Seas and Command of the Seas in the character of two 
conflicting doctrines. And this duel of juristic dialecticians, by 
drawing a distinction when there is no real difference, has, as is the 
way of war, badly fogged and bogged the road to peace. 


It will be our object here to clear away the fog of this controversy 
and to get back to the facts. And these are that sea power will be 
accepted when it is sea police and will make for peace, but will be 
rejected when it is sea profiteering and will make for war. When, 
for example, the British in the eighteenth century, in the interests 
of their own commerce, tried simultaneously to capture the colonies 
of rival peoples and to crush the revolt of their own in America, 
their sea power was challenged by the First Armed Neutrality. 
They lost command of the seas and therewith the rebellious colonies, 
as they deserved. But when later, in the interests of Nationalism 
against Napoleonism, they again made an extreme use of sea power 
and were challenged, first by the second armed neutrality and later 
by the Americans, they lost little or nothing thereby. And when, in 
the long period of peace that followed, the British used their sea 
power for sea police in the interests of civilization against the slave 
trade and arms traffic, there was again a general acceptance of their 
international mandate. The British Command of the Seas that 
had resulted from their successful competition with the Portuguese, 


Spanish, French, and Dutch was accepted down to the present day 
because, though the piracy of the buccaneer, the corsair and, finally, 
the slaver declined and disappeared, its function of sea police was 
replaced by one of sea pilotage. Brigandage being suppressed, the 
British sea police became peaceful but no less useful regulators of 
traffic. The writ of British Sea Power ran wherever flat-bottomed 
gunboats could float, not because the British war fleet could challenge 
any two others, but because it was the only Authority for ruling 
the waves. 

The British regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea 
(Merchant Shipping Acts 1 862-1 873) as revised and recommended 
by the Washington Conference (1889) are now the Law of the High 
Seas. So is the British Commercial Code of Signals (1857 revised 
1900). The British Marine Survey, a branch of the Navy, provides 
the whole materia technica of the science of navigation. The four 
thousand Admiralty charts and seventy-six volumes of sailing 
directions are used by all mercantile marines but are owed to the 
British Navy. The meridian of Greenwich and the Nautical Almanac 
have become international institutions ; and, if Gibraltar is no 
longer wanted as a bulwark of civilization against the Barbary 
pirates, Greenwich does the work of an international bureau for the 
scientific safeguarding of navigation. 

But nowadays it must be admitted that in time of peace there is 
little use for national sea power as international sea police. As to 
sea pilotage, such work as is now wanted could easily be done by an 
international authority with no real naval force. Consequently, 
however much a national navy like that of the British may claim 
to be still of international service in providing Freedom of the Seas 
in peace, such a claim is likely to be considered as mere camouflage 
for preparing a Command of the Seas in war. If pressed it is likely 
to provoke rather than prevent naval competition on the part of 
Great Britain's commercial and colonial competitors. That is 
evident from the attitude of Germans before the war — and of 
Americans after it. 

Thus, at the Washington Five-Power Naval Conference in 192 1 
and the Geneva Three-Power Naval Conference in 1927, the British 
protagonists of sea domination adopted a pose which, if taken 
literally, means that only the British Empire has an interest in the 


Command of the Seas for its commerce and that no other nation's 
maritime interests are of any account. In the third decade of the 
twentieth century this posture is untenable. The answer is seen 
in the French submarine building programme, the greatest embarked 
upon by any nation, and in the Naval Appropriations presented to 
the United States Congress for a shipbuilding programme greater 
than any yet envisaged by a naval power. In short, to-day, 
however loudly the British Lion may roar that Britannia rules the 

waves — 

" Yet have I heard upon a distant shore 
Another Lion give a louder roar, 
And the first one thought the last — a bore." 

What was the effect, for example, on the minds of America, when a 
Times leading article (30th Jan., 1928) in defence of the naval 
policy of the Conservative Government, declared that 

" The difference between the ' parity ■ that means an effective equality 
in British and American naval strength and the ■ mathematical parity ' 
that would put an American Navy in a position to threaten the internal 
communications of the British Empire has yet to be fully explained both 
to the British and American peoples." 

Whereas, when you come to think of it, these so-called " internal 
communications of the Empire " are the international commerce 
routes of the world ! Is it not absurd to assume that because these 
two functions correspond, therefore these routes can be compared 
with the overland railway lines of America and Europe as being the 
exclusive domestic concern of the British Empire ? A country 
overburdened with debt and borne down with taxation, with 
vulnerable land frontiers in Asia, Africa, and America and even in 
future in Europe, cannot bear also the task of policing and guarding 
the sea routes of the world. Nor will other nations, almost as 
vitally interested in these routes, endure much longer the sea supre- 
macy of one Sovereign Power. Such peace service as Greenwich or 
Gibraltar can still render is in no way commensurate with the price 
to be paid by accepting the arbitrary power of commercial blockade 
in War. 

Freedom of the Seas in peace time is therefore not here in question, 
except in so far as claims to Command of the Sea in the interests of 


civilization and commerce conduce immediately to naval competition 
and ultimately to naval conflict. Such claims would, in fact, not be 
asserted were the Freedom of the Seas in war time adequately 
assured. It is with the possibilities of such assurance that the 
following pages are concerned. And if Freedom of the Seas in peace 
time is not now challenged it is to be noticed that the Freedom of 
the Air in peace time is still in cause. Certain nations are claiming 
sole sovereignty of the air over their territories, just as at the 
beginning of the flying era certain landlords claimed, incidentally 
with strict legality, the right to prosecute, as trespassers, aeroplanes 
flying over their estates. And though an examination of this subject 
would take us too far off our course, yet it must be remembered 
that this matter also requires international regulation. That Persia, 
for example, for diplomatic reasons should refuse to ratify the 
Convention she had signed which allows passage over Persia to 
British commercial aeroplanes en route between England and 
Australia, via Baghdad and India, is as ridiculous as if the Americans 
used the Monroe doctrine to prevent foreign merchant vessels from 
passing through the Panama Canal. The friendly relations between 
two peoples and the future peace of the world should not be 
imperilled by placing any such air power in the hands of a Govern- 
ment for use in diplomatic deals. Air power in peace, like sea power, 
must be under international authority. 


That the British derived from command of the seas in war not 
only their Colonial Empire in the eighteenth century, but also their 
commercial expansion in the nineteenth — and that, in this twentieth 
century, while at war, they have been dependent on sea power for 
their existence as food consumers and as factory producers is 
accepted. And it is an American — Admiral Mahan — who has given 
the clearest and most complete exposition of what sea power in 
war has meant to the British. That such security by sea power 
required in the past a supremacy in naval force over any probable 
or even possible enemy, and involved a restriction and even a 
repudiation of Freedom of the Seas in war is also agreed. But it 
must also be admitted that the British owed the general acceptance 


by other peoples in the past of their Command of the Seas to the 
fact that they therewith offered such peoples the greatest common 
measure possible at the moment of Freedom of the Seas. And to 
show how that measure can now be extended and better established 
is one of the objects of this book. 

On the other hand, that Americans in their belligerent genesis 
derived their independence from the momentary Freedom of the 
Seas obtained by the first Armed Neutrality and that, as a geo- 
graphical neutral, they have always discerned their interest in 
extending and establishing that Freedom is also to be accepted. 
That they can now secure it if they like by themselves claiming 
command of the seas is also agreed. But they also generously admit 
that they inherited their early immunity from their colonial status 
and that they owe the insularity which inspires their later relations 
with Europe to British Command of the Seas. 

It will, therefore, be argued in the following pages that the whole 
position of both countries in respect of sea power in war has now 
changed in almost every conceivable circumstance ; and that their 
future interests lie not in efforts to claim or compete for a command 
of the seas in war but in the opposite policy of combining in 
Command of the Seas to secure a new Freedom of the Seas as 
complete in war as in peace. 


Freedom of the Seas in war has been considered in the past as the 
converse of Command of the Seas in war. This has caused inter- 
national law to become a regulation of naval warfare making to the 
advantage of the weaker combatant both at sea and on shore — and 
a restriction of naval warfare to the advantage of neutrals. Both 
these objects of sea law can be justified on humanitarian grounds. 
The regulation and restriction of the more extreme expressions of 
war appeals to the moral instincts of mankind — and the objection, 
that the more odious and onerous war becomes the more opposed 
to it men will be, has been discredited by recent experience. Indeed, 
the frightfulness of modern weapons breeds that fear of each other 
which is to-day the most fruitful cause of war between arming 
nations. There has consequently been a strong tendency to invest 


such regulations and restrictions of sea warfare with the sanctity 
of a " Law of Nations," and to invent for such international law 
" sanctions " such as could, in fact, only be supplied by a sovereign 
or sacrosanct Super-state ; for example, by a Holy See fulminating 
papal interdicts or by a divine Caesar furrowing the sea with 

A student of textbooks on " international law " or of treatises on 
international arbitration, or a jurist, who has lived in a realm of 
common law and codes, might easily be tempted to assume that 
there really was a valid corpus of international law — and that it was 
only necessary now to supply it with codes and courts so as to 
substitute a judicial arbitration for the arbitrament of war and the 
security of a Super Prize Court for that of Sea Power. And the 
experience of this last great war and of every previous great war in 
sweeping away all such restrictions and regulations such a man of 
law would explain away as extraordinary and exceptional. But 
here we wish to be concerned with hard facts — not with legal 
fictions however pious, or with legal formulae however positive. In 
an enquiry into conditions that vitally affect not only our Empire 
on the High Seas but the necessities of life in our native land, we 
must look at things as they are. In a later chapter we shall enquire 
whether and to what extent a future League of Nations and 
International Tribunals, expressing a consensus gentium, and 
exercising the combined force of neutrals, could be trusted with our 
security and with control of the sea in war and in peace. In this 
chapter will be shown that the history of British sea power suggests 
that regulation and restriction of war at sea has not been secured 
by the sanctity or sanctions of any codified, conventional, customary, 
or case law, or even by a consensus gentium. But that it has 
been conditioned purely by the policy of the principal sea powers. 
That moral considerations only count in so far as they affect that 
policy by a general disapproval of the inhumanities of belligerents 
or an approval of their ideals. That the responsibilities of belliger- 
ents and the rights of neutrals cannot be deferred in reality to a 
corpus of jurisprudence — to a common law of nations — still less to 
international codes — but that they vary with the vicissitudes of 
the occasion and never represent more than the nett balance of 
power and of public opinion. 



For this purpose it will not be necessary to review the history of 
the question more remotely than the beginnings of our colonial 
and commercial supremacy in the eighteenth century — not that 
evidence to the same effect cannot be exhibited from earlier 
times. For whenever the pinch has come British sea power 
has made short work of rights of neutrals or responsibilities of 

The legally minded Mr. Asquith in announcing to the House of 
Commons the " reprisals," that were, in effect, an illegal blockade, 
said (1st March, 1915, Hansard, 5th Ser. LXX, 600) — 

"we are not going to allow our efforts to be strangled in a network of 
juridical niceties . . . under existing conditions there is no form of 
economic pressure to which we do not consider ourselves entitled to 

He thereby merely repeated what, under very similar conditions, 
the diplomatically minded Queen Elizabeth had said to the Polish 
Ambassador in 1597 : 

" For your part you seem indeed to us to have read many books but 
yet to have little understanding of politics, for when you so often make 
mention of the Law of Nations you must know that in time of war 
betwixt Kings it is lawful for the one party to intercept aids and succours 
to the other and to care that no damage accrue to himself." 

" Inter arma leges silent," and when it is a real war it at once 
becomes all too clear that such regulations and restrictions are not 
real laws. It is easy " to read many books " and to have all the 
less " understanding of politics." 

When we come to examine what was the condition of " inter- 
national law " in respect of sea warfare, in order to expose the 
conditions of its development for a century and to explain how it 
must be dealt with to-day, it is very difficult to avoid the assumption 
underlying all authorities on the subject that these compromises 
between conflicting interests have a " legal " sanctity and an 


" international " sanction. The authors, being all jurists and 
nearly all pacifists, have naturally tended to assimilate these 
international agreements to the " social contracts " of internal 
sovereignty and to assume for them a basis of " jus " or at least of 
" consensus " ; whereas the sanctities and sanctions of such con- 
ventional and customary rules are entirely different from those of 
either Common or Statute Law. Nevertheless, this assumption 
has had great moral value as peace propaganda and has made a 
profound impression on public opinion among the more legally 
minded peoples. Of these, the Americans are the most extreme 
example. This may be partly because in their own Federal Con- 
stitution the Judicature, with its power of interpreting a written 
Constitution, is a more essential element than elsewhere, partly 
because litigation plays a more important part in business com- 
petition and lawyers take a more important place in public life than 
elsewhere. Wherefore in the American polity the Common Law 
is only second to the Constitution, and the result has been a 
" legalism " in the American aspect of, and attitude to, international 
issues that is based on an assumption of an absolute and abstract 
international Law. Whereas, the British, for reasons that cannot 
here be developed, have remained in allegiance to the early and 
more concrete conception of Law as emanating from the Crown or 
from Custom. Instead of a Constitution the British believe in that 
super-Royal Commission — Parliament. They see the future Super- 
State not as an international Court but as an international Committee. 
And this conflict in ideas between the " legalism " of Americans and 
the " Leaguism " of the British will become of importance when 
considering solutions in the final chapter. Here it is of interest in 
explaining to some extent their respective reactions to the claims 
of " international law " in the course of the century and a half of 
their independent relations. 

u International law " in respect of sea warfare was in the eighteenth 
century much what it had been since the rise of independent 
sovereign States. The early codes of mediaeval sea sovereignties 
were represented by the rules of the Consolato del Mare, which 
formulated the procedures of sea power in the Mediterranean in the 
fourteenth century. These rules exempted from capture private 
property at sea, whether ship or cargo, if neutrally owned. But 


this liberal provision did not represent a previous general custom 
nor was it generally accepted thereafter, though it forms the basis 
of many treaties in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the 
ever more grasping and more general competition for the new 
colonial and commercial prizes of sea power in the sixteenth century 
belligerents came to claim as prize of war both neutral ships carrying 
enemy goods and neutral goods carried on enemy ships (e.g. French 
ordinances of 1543 and 1583). And it would be easy to show how 
in each war the policy of each State corresponded to its sea power, 
and how the general principles of these rules corresponded to the 
balance of power between belligerents and neutrals. But it will be 
enough to take one example. At the end of the seventeenth century 
France was in pursuit of world supremacy by conquest. The enter- 
prise of Colbert seemed on the point of winning for the French the 
New World that the servility of Charles II seemed likely to lose for 
the English. Therefore, France asserted the extreme belligerent 
claim. The British, partly a colonial — that is, a belligerent power, 
and partly a commercial — that is, a neutral power, and in either case 
less self-supporting than France, adhered to the more liberal rule of 
the " Consolato " which gave their commercial and carrying and 
catering requirements a better chance. While the Dutch — a peace- 
able people, a commercial power, and the world's carriers, secured 
by treaty wherever possible a clause making enemy goods in neutral 
and Dutch ships exempt, but neutral goods on enemy ships seizable. 
Moreover, unregulated privateering and unrestricted blockades 
made this confusion worse confounded. 

Nevertheless, we find all the main conceptions of international 
relations at sea in war time already clearly formulated as " inter- 
national law." Conditional contraband, continuous voyage, non- 
neutral service and other technicalities were already familiar to the 
jurists who were busy formulating the theories that might be 
supposed to underlie the actions of heavy-handed Admirals or the 
assertions of hard-pressed Governments. And these theories of the 
reciprocal responsibilities of belligerents and neutrals were coloured 
by the controversy between those jurisconsults, who saw all belliger- 
ent rights as derogations of a divine right of Freedom of the Seas, 
which should exempt all private property at sea — and those others 
who saw all neutral rights as a denial of a divine right of sea power 


and sea police for the protection of public and private property 

It is interesting to note that already in 1758 Vattel finds it 
necessary to modify Bynkershoek's definition of neutrality as com- 
plete non-intervention, by allowing neutrals to favour one belligerent 
against another who has in their opinion an unjust cause. And we 
here have the germ-cell of an " Armed Neutrality," ora" League 
of Peace " against " wars of aggression." The latest growth from 
this germ is Senator Capper's resolution calling on Congress not to 
support American Nationals trading with an " aggressor " nation in 
a war in which the United States of America is neutral. 


The first relations of the United Kingdom with the United States 
in this connection were conditioned not by the Consolato del Mare, 
nor by the doctrines of Grotius, but by the circumstances of the 
War of Independence. The mercantilist system, which made the 
commerce with colonies in raw materials in return for manufactures 
a monopoly of the Mother Country, was itself a denial of the Freedom 
of the Seas, just as sovereignty over colonies was itself a derivative 
of sea power. 

The American colonists therefore first appear as belligerents 
claiming and employing every belligerent procedure for freeing their 
soil and seas from British sea power. And their best means for this 
purpose was in allying themselves with the rival sea power of 
France and in allowing themselves those belligerencies on the 
" border-line " of legality that are the usual weapons of an inferior 
sea power. Such a border-line belligerency in those days was 
privateering ; and France, which, through Beaumarchais and a 
sham corporation, " Hortalez et Cie," was supplying the colonists 
with arms and munitions, in return exacted a permanent " com- 
mercial " treaty allowing French warships and privateers permanent 
use of American ports as a base in war. The only possible hostile 
action at sea was commerce and coast raiding, like that of Paul 
Jones ; and such privateering was only differentiated from piracy 
by certain customary rules such as bringing prizes into port for 
adjudication, not making war on open coast towns, etc. But these 


rules had to be disregarded by Paul Jones as completely as by any 
German submarine or sea raider — though this American unre- 
stricted warfare avoided the German inhumanities by its system 
of ransoming captives. Indeed, Paul Jones was quite a polite 
" pirate," and when he raided Lord Selkirk's country house he very 
civilly restored the plate robbed by his crew. But no doubt the British 
were as right under international law in classing his operations as 
piracy as were the Spaniards in similarly condemning those of Drake. 
Yet Paul Jones is quite as rightly a national American hero as is 
his earlier piratical protagonist of the Freedom of the Seas a hero 
of the British. 

The United States owed the rapid acquisition and ready 
acceptance of their independence to a strategic failure and a tactical 
false move of British sea power. British belligerency had as usual 
asserted the fullest preventives and prohibitions of trade with the 
colonies. Under the " Rule of 1756," by which British sea power 
successfully prohibited any new trade under war conditions that 
had been prescribed by the Mercantilist System under peace con- 
ditions — all open direct trade was seizable under u International 
Law." But in this duel between the Mother Country and its 
Colonists there was a majority of neutral Powers who were ready to 
supply manufactures — to say nothing of munitions — to the new 
State and who were resentful of the capture of neutral vessels by 
British privateers. The Franco- American Treaty of 1778 had pro- 
claimed a Freedom of the Seas policy to the effect that " Free ships 
make Free Goods " ; and this policy inspired the " Armed Alliance " 
of 1780, initiated by Russia, which forced the English to accept 
for a time not only " Free ships — Free goods," but also a prohibition 
of paper blockades and a restriction of privateering. 


At the time of the proclamation issued by Catherine II (2nd 
February, 1780) the procedure of the United States of America as 
to neutral rights was assimilated to that of the United Kingdom. 
France and Spain joined the armed neutrality, and after some 
hesitation (case of the Flora) Congress accepted the liberal rules of 
the armed neutrality (5th October, 1780), but could not become a 


party to the armed neutrality because it was a belligerent and 
because the Empress refused to recognize the rebellious colonies. 
After peace in 1783, Congress had lost interest in the armed neutrality 
and was not anxious to be entangled in armed guarantees for the 
enforcement of rules which were rejected by Great Britain. And 
all the members of the armed neutrality abandoned its liberal rules 
on their next belligerency. 

The tactical failure of the British sea power was even more fatal 
than this diplomatic defeat. It was occasioned by the Dutch having 
developed their island, St. Eustacius, as an entrepot for an enor- 
mously lucrative trade in manufactures and munitions with the 
Colonies. These goods could safely cross the ocean in Dutch vessels 
and thence be run by American coasters through the British blockade. 
As the Dutch had long abandoned the Mercantilist System there 
was no cause of complaint under International Law. But it was 
obviously intolerable to the British that their trade rivals should 
make 100 per cent, profits out of providing the means of rebellion. 
On the pretext of a draft agreement for a Dutch loan to the Colonists 
which was captured at sea, Rodney was sent to capture the port of 
St. Eustacius and confiscate the property there in complete violation 
of International Law. But while Rodney was plundering St. 
Eustacius, de Grasse took command of the sea and brought about 
the capitulation of Cornwallis and the collapse of the War of Inde- 
pendence. The ■' Armed Alliance " and its Freedom of the Seas had 
thus prolonged the War of Independence until a temporary French 
superiority in sea power ended the British attempts to put back the 
colonial clock. 

As in this Anglo-American duel the balance of power was with an 
Armed Neutrality, although the issue was of vital importance to 
the interests of the belligerents and one of these was the dominant 
sea power, the net result was a move towards Freedom of the Seas. 
And the entry of a new neutral, the United States, into the balance 
was in the end to prove far more important to that cause than this 
ephemeral " First Armed Neutrality." 

The next great conflict — that of the wars of the French Revolution 
and of the Napoleonic regime — was under very different conditions 
and had very different consequences. On the outbreak of war the 
French envoy to the United States, Citizen Genet, proceeded to act 


liiii!! ii 

I in 







II ll¥i'!i ! 

i IP 

111,11 llJliiP 1 


under the Treaty of 1778 by equipping French privateers in the 
Southern States. Washington at once wisely decided that the 
United States must preserve neutrality, and that the Treaty being 
" defensive " and these operations " offensive," the United States 
were not bound to enter the war as the ally of France. We have, 
in fact, here the first example of the United States as a natural 
neutral vainly trying to keep clear of a European war in which its 
immediate interests were not involved and its sympathies were 
opposed to its self-interest. In the early struggle between the 
ancien regimes of Europe and the French Revolution, American 
sympathies were naturally with France. This idealism was soon 
modified by interest. The excesses of the Terror alarmed Anglo- 
Saxon America, while war profiteering brought fabulous fortunes 
to the farms and factories of the infant State. Wherefore the 
British right of search and seizure was ruthlessly used for the 
discouragement of America's neutral trade and the Jay Treaty 
(1784), though it settled some outstanding disputes, in no way 
relieved the situation at sea. The first direct blow at neutral trade 
was that the British made grain contraband. There were good 
precedents, but Jefferson had grounds for his protest. The next 
blow was the prohibition of neutral transport of goods from the 
French Colonies to France under the Rule of 1756. France had 
abolished its mercantilist monopoly, so the prohibition was quite 
arbitrary. But all the same, the American protest only secured 
such a modification of the British Order in Council (6th November, 
1793) as allowed Americans to trade with the French Colonies but 
not between them and France. American shippers then began 
transporting French colonial produce to France after transhipment 
at an American port. This was allowed at first by the British Vice- 
Admiralty Court (Sir W. Scott, The Polly, 1800), but later British 
warships seized all American vessels they could convict of thus 
evading the Rule of 1756 ; and this was confirmed by British prize 
courts on the ground that logical facts were stronger than legal 
fictions. (Sir W. Scott, The Immanuel, 1799.) The French action 
was even more arbitrary. GenSt was using ports in the pro-French 
Southern States as bases for privateering in spite of Washington's 
repudiation of the Treaty of 1778, and a French decree (9th May, 
1793) made British goods seizable on neutral ships though the 


British were respecting the more liberal rule of the Consolato. 
Monroe, a pro-French Jeffersonian, was sent to Paris; but his 
persistent efforts to bring America into the war as an ally of France 
on sentimental grounds only resulted in his recall by Washington, 
whose attitude was very similar to that of his successor Wilson a 
century later. A rupture of relations followed and American ships 
were seized, but there was no formal declaration of war, and for 
two years American warships fought with French " very informally " 
but none the less heartily. Finally a settlement was reached between 
President Adams and Napoleon — the American liability for the 
breach of treaty obligations being traded against that of France for 
breaches of international law. 


It is interesting to compare the aims and achievements of Wash- 
ington and Wilson in situations which, though over a century apart, 
were sufficiently similar to allow of a comparison. Washington, the 
soldier and owner of estates commanding and developing a nationalist 
movement, had the more limited objective and the more immediate 
success. As long as he was in command he kept America out of the 
Napoleonic cataclysm by a strength of character greater than 
Wilson's. He died "first in peace, first in war and first in the 
hearts of his countrymen." Wilson had set a far higher aim for 
himself — a far nobler ambition for his country. A student and a 
statesman, he found himself giving a voice and a lead to a world- 
wide movement to save civilization from war. He failed in war, 
for he could not keep his country out of it, he failed in peace 
because his country would not support him, and he failed to find a 
place in the hearts of his countrymen because they saw only his 
failures. But if Washington is suitably commemorated in the 
National Capital of the United States of America — Wilson will some 
day have for memorial the international capital of the United 
States of the World. The tragic figure of the great Peace-President 
will some day be the first in the hearts of his fellow-countrymen of 
all nations. 



When Washington left the wheel the American Ship of State 
no longer held so straight a course. It was not long before British 
sea power had evoked a second Armed Neutrality (1800) initiated 
by Russia and Scandinavia, that led to an interesting interlude in 
the Maritime Convention (1801-1807). But Nelson crushed the 
Scandinavians at Copenhagen (2nd April, 1801) and the revival of 
war between England and Russia (1807) renewed the old conflict 
between the British rules and those of the Armed Neutrality. But 
the leader of the Armed Neutrality, Russia, after proclaiming (1807) 
that it would defend the Armed Neutrality rules to the death, 
immediately violated them by seizing British goods in neutral 
ships (Ukase, 1st August, 1809). So ended the second Armed 
Neutrality because these armed neutrals had no real political 
solidarity among themselves nor any sufficient naval sanction 
against others. 

Meantime the war of the French revolution ended with the peace 
of Amiens and broke out again (1803) as a war against Napoleonic 
imperialism expressing itself in a war of ruthless reprisals at seal 
Trafalgar (1805) had made the British fleet supreme, and so by 
taking advantage of the doctrine of " Continuous Voyage " the 
American trade with France and its colonies via American ports 
was declared illegal (Sir W. Grant, The William, 1806) and the 
American shippers, now deeply engaged in this lucrative trade, were 
heavily hit. Then, as Napoleon controlled all European ports, a 
general blockade of North Sea and Channel ports was declared 
against him (6th April, 1806). Napoleon retaliated with the 
" Berlin Decree " blockading English ports (21st November, 1806). 
The British countered with another order (nth November, 1807) 
blockading every European port under French control. 

This repudiation of all rights of neutrals by the usual crescendo 
of reprisals was, of course, destructive of American interests, as it 
was intended to be. American trade in 1807 dropped by four-fifths ; 
nor had America any effective retaliation. The United States were 
still deeply divided between the agricultural south and the industrial 
north. The interests of the northern merchants and manufacturers 


had maintained neutrality under Washington and Adams. But 
now the pro-French Jefferson was President and the southern 
ruling class in control. So the Jeffersonian non-importation Act, 
disastrous as it was for the north, was decided on by the south as a 
reprisal that would penalize British exporters. In further reprisal 
for British illegalities in impressing seamen from American ships 
and for an attack on an American warship {Leopard v. Chesapeake) 
Jefferson proclaimed an " embargo " (nth November, 1807) stop- 
ping all trade with Europe. The object of this was to bring England 
and France to terms — which it did not do. Its internal economic 
effects were far-reaching but do not concern us. 

As a substitute for war the embargo was a failure. Napoleon 
extended his reprisals to American shipping in French ports, which 
he captured under the Bayonne Decree (17th April, 1808) and 
confiscated under the Rambouillet Decree (23rd March, 1810). 
President Madison's diplomatic efforts to get a withdrawal of the 
" Continental system " by the French and of the Orders in Council 
by the British failed, and by 181 2 British warships and French 
privateers were detaining and destroying American shipping without 
regard to any rules at all. Madison then threatened war, and as 
Napoleon announced he would withdraw his decrees (1810) though 
he did not do so, and as the British dropped the Orders in Council, 
but did not formally announce the fact in time, the United States 
went to war with the United Kingdom (1812). 

This war of 1812, with its illegalities such as the American 
instructions to cruisers to destroy prizes and its odious reprisals 
such as the burning of Newark by the Americans or the burning of 
the White House by the British, should serve as a warning as to 
how easily these two kindred peoples can be worked up into war 
with one another over a rivalry in sea power remote from their real 
relationship and vital interests. Indeed, there was really nothing 
at all to fight about. For by 1812 the blockade and embargo had 
converted Americans from a mercantile into a manufacturing 
people, already almost independent of English and European 
trades. Moreover, the British blockade had been already 
abandoned as damaging to our interests before the war of 181 z 
was declared. 

The fact that the Americans in 1812 formally went to war with 


the British, instead of with the French who had damaged them 
much more, is an excellent proof of the proposition that war is a 
matter of psychology rather than of policy. The casus belli against 
the British was their imprisonment of American seamen, which 
though improper and even inhuman inflicted no national damage 
on the American people. The real cause of war was the senile 
arrogance of the English ruling class of that day — the county 
families, and the childish aggressiveness of the American ruling 
class — the Southern War Hawks. 

French privateering on the other hand had done more than 
anything else to kill American trade, and against it the British 
fleet was the only protection at first. As soon as America had 
equipped war vessels they fought the French privateers in bloody 
battles for two years. But there was no declaration of war against 
France because the American ruling class were in sympathy with 
that nation. 

And if we compare this with the American attitude in the Great 
War we find that their action against Germany in 1917 rather than 
against Great Britain was actuated by the same sort of sentiment 
in the ruling class. The British blockade, though conducted with 
careful consideration for American sensibilities, was doing American 
business interests much more damage than the submarines. But 
the American ruling class were on the whole pro-British in sentiment, 
and the Germans alienated the sympathies of multitudes who might 
have been their supporters on grounds of traditional policy. The 
business interest of America was to remain neutral — its political 
interest was to support Germany for Freedom of the Seas and 
Balance of Sea Power. That is to say, the last war between British 
and Americans was a war of sentiment — as the next will be should 
the two peoples be mad enough to fight. 

This summary review of the relations of the United Kingdom 
and the United States in the world war of a century ago conduces 
to conclusions that are confirmed by our relations in the world war 
of this century. They are — firstly, that when there is an " all-in " 
and " all-out " fight between Sea Powers for Command of the Sea — 
the extent of respect paid to neutral rights at sea depends not on rules 
of " international law," but on the risk of neutral intervention. 
And secondly, that the United States as a neutral sea power will 


be drawn into armed intervention, not against that sea power 
which most injures its business interests, but against that sea power 
which most infringes its moral instincts. The conclusion is that 
it is a real question of national honour and vital interest both for 
Americans and British to make and maintain a workable system 
and a working sanction of sea law. 

Unfortunately there was a complete failure of the British and 
Americans to get together for the reconstruction of sea law out of 
the ruins of its structure left by the Napoleonic sea warfare of 
reprisals. This was due to the raw left in the relationship between 
the two peoples by the War of Independence and the War of 1812. 
The Anglo-American peace (Treaty of Ghent, 1814) made no attempt 
to restore or revise the regime of sea law. The European Peace 
(the Treaty of Vienna) was, of course, not, in the circumstances, 
concerned with it. The British maintained all their belligerent 
claims which had been the casus belli with Americans — conscription 
of seamen, commercial blockade, Rule of 1756, and continuous 
voyage, etc. 


But all the same, a new factor had appeared in the balance of 
sea power that at once produced two practical new departures of 
the first interest and importance — which are generally overlooked 
and always under-estimated by jurists and historians. The new 
factor was an efficient American fleet. The first new departure was 
the use of that fleet for eliminating from the European High Seas 
the last mediaeval menace to Freedom of the Seas in time of peace. 
It is one of the most serious and most significant reproaches to the 
national organization of civilization that the separatism and self- 
seeking of Sovereign States had allowed the Barbary coast to remain, 
right into the nineteenth century, a citadel of that systematized 
piracy that had devastated the coasts of civilized Europe and 
destroyed its commerce since before the rise of modern civilization. 
It is almost inconceivable to-day that powerful sea-peoples like the 
British and French should have gone on suffering their ships to be 
seized and their subjects enslaved under the very guns of Gibraltar 
and Toulon. Worse still— that they actually paid tribute— or 


rather blackmail — to these sea-pirates and slave-traders, instead of 
exercising that sea police against them which was the excuse for 
their sea power. 

A departure was made by the new American Navy that has not 
been sufficiently recognized by Europe. The United States not only 
refused to further subsidize these pests but resolved to suppress 
them. An American Squadron challenged and chased back into 
the Middle Ages the evil spell these pirate strongholds had imposed 
on the far more powerful and more responsible fleets of Europe. 
One of the most valued possessions of one of the authors of these 
pages are the decanters that Admiral Preble took with him on his 
Tripoli expedition in the famous frigate Constitution — " Old Iron- 
sides." He drinks from them nightly to the American Navy 
and Freedom of the Seas, and considers them a considerable 
asset in compensating the balance of transatlantic trade in 
historic relics that is now so heavily in favour of America. 
He hopes it is some consolation to Americans for their loss that 
their practical use in their own country is now so much less than 
in his. 


And the second new departure caused by the creation of an 
American fleet is of even greater service to civilization. For it was 
not, like the former, putting the coping stone to the Freedom of the 
Seas in peace, but a laying of the corner stone of the Freedom of the 
Seas in war. The American Navy on the High Seas a century ago 
could do no more than give a dashing lead to Europe in a new 
departure long overdue. But the American Navy in the Great Lakes 
had a century ago built and fought itself a place on that basis of 
parity with the leading sea power, Great Britain, that it is now 
reaching to-day on the High Seas. And what was the result ? — 
that, after the few years necessary to allow war passions to die 
down, an arrangement was come to between these two Sea 
Powers as to " neutralizing " the Great Lakes, which might well 
be extended to-day to cover those Narrow Seas of Europe in 
which the British and American Navies are — or soon will be — on a 


The so-called Rush-Bagot agreement, to the effect that neither 
Power will keep a naval force on the Great Lakes other than a 
minimum " parity " in police-craft, has every characteristic of a 
Common Law of Nations — as distinct from those Napoleonic codes 
of jurists so alien to the Anglo-Saxon temperament and tradition, 
and so anomalous in their practical results. It is no carefully worded 
and cautiously guarded Treaty — fortified by solemn ratifica- 
tions and falsified by sinister reservations concealing the cunning 
designs and concocted deals of " experts." It is not even a formal 
international Convention. But just " a gentleman's agreement " 
between a Mr. Rush and a Mr. Bagot, not otherwise distinguished, 
beginning with no invocations of divine authority and ending 
without any provision for appeals to arbitration or other precautions. 
It was, like the Washington Disarmament Agreement over a century 
later, a disarmament by " mathematical parity " in gun calibres, and 
tonnage capacities. But, unlike the Washington Agreement, there 
was behind it a complete acceptance of the principle ; so that, although 
the limitations of calibre and capacity were soon obsolete and no 
longer observed, and although the whole strategic situation of the 
Great Lakes was changed by their being opened to the ocean, yet 
the principle was not only respected but stood the strain of war on 
two occasions. (See Appendix.) Moreover this anomalous agreement, 
because it had become the common law of the peoples, has outlasted 
all the contemporary conventional international law. The Declara- 
tion of Paris, for example, was, as we shall see, never generally 
obligatory, and is now obsolete. The Declaration of London was 
superseded within a decade of its general signature . But the informal 
Rush-Bagot agreement has banished naval warfare from a thousand 
mile water frontier. And this open frontier has for a century been, 
and is to-day, the only real safe sea frontier, because it is the only 
one protected by an international Freedom of the Seas and not by 
a national Command of the Seas. 

Such longevity in a contract of a class in which the infant mor- 
tality of Contracts runs very high — argues a sound constitution. And 
the principle of the neutralization of Narrow Seas introduced into 
international law by this agreement is eminently sound. For the 
agreement secures the Freedom of the Seas, reducing armament to 
the minimum required for sea police, that sea police being supplied 


by the associated armed neutrality on a basis of parity or pro- 
portional resources and responsibility. And it also substitutes 
this associated authority for that of Command of the Seas by 
a Sovereign Sea Power. Which prevents any power using the 
pretext of sea police to get the maximum naval force that its 
fiscal resources can support or its imperial requirements may 
demand or its naval rivals may tolerate. And it is evident 
that the importance of such disarmament for the procuring 
and preserving of peace was more clearly recognized by its 
signatories than it has been in the subsequent century by its 

For the principle of the Rush-Bagot arrangement as proclaimed 
by John Quincey Adams to Congress (56th 1st Sess.) is that dis- 
armament is the only practical preventive of war. What Mr. Adams 
wrote to Lord Castlereagh a century ago as to Anglo-American armed 
forces on the Great Lakes is equally true to-day of their antagonism 
on the High Seas : 

"It is evident that if each party augments its forces with a view to 
obtaining an ascendancy over the other vast expense will be incurred 
and the danger of a collision correspondingly augmented." 

The Senate in approving the agreement endorsed this principle that 
disarmament is the only true preliminary to peace. Unfortunately, 
there was at that time no Anglo-American armed neutrality attain- 
able that might have been capable of carrying this principle from 
Anglo-American waters into the other Narrow Seas. 

But, be it noted, this disarmament depended from day to day 
for over a century on loyal acceptance of the principle. Had either 
attempted at any time to sneak or snatch control of those vital 
inland waterways the moral disarmament which is the basis of 
material disarmament would have been lost. And a paper disarma- 
ment can always be evaded, as Napoleon found with his artificial 
limitations on the army of the Prussia he had defeated. We shall 
expose later an example of the collapse of a more formal and general 
disarmament arrangement because the American public thought 
naval parity with England had been achieved at Washington in 
1921, only to be disillusioned by the strictly legal cruiser building 
for the British Admiralty in the years 1924 to 1927, 


Similarly if, a century ago, a " mathematical parity " disarma- 
ment had been enforced on the Great Lakes with political agreement 
lacking, Americans and Canadians might not have built sailing ships 
of war, but might to-day legally possess great fleets of fighting 
aircraft with which to threaten one another. 

Is France any less nervous of Germany to-day, despite the dis- 
armament of the latter, her membership of the League of Nations, 
and the guarantee of Italy and Britain by the pact of Locarno ? 
Yet when passions cool and the memory of the war years fade on 
either side of the Rhine a revision of the less just clauses of the 
Treaty of Versailles should enable a real friendship to be established 
between the two ancient enemies — if no war breaks out before then. 
For if only two nations can agree on vital matters of common interest 
and a bond of mutual necessity be established, disarmament on 
paper will soon become disarmament in fact. 


After the Napoleonic Wars came a period of peace. The nineteenth 
century was an epoch of economic expansion on both sides of the 
Atlantic and of minor European wars between Governments for 
limited objectives and in restricted and generally remote fields. The 
psychology of the peoples was pacific. 

The war fevers worked up by war interests often failed to produce 
war — even in the most sensitive relations. As late as 1879 tne ant i~ 
Russian agitation about Constantinople to which we owe the term 
" Jingo " ended without war in a " peace with honour." And this 
peace psychology, in spite of sporadic outbreaks of war psychosis, 
was most marked in Anglo-American relations. Conflicting claims 
for vast and valuable territories in the American Continent were 
satisfactorily settled by diplomatic dickering. When it came out 
that in the Webster-Ashburton partition of Maine both parties had 
discovered — and suppressed — maps that established the claim of 
their opponents — the peoples merely laughed. When the partition 
of Oregon was negotiated in a clamour of " fifty-four forty or fight " 
and such-like slogans, neither peoples took the bluffing of their 
plenipotentiaries and the blustering of their Press very seriously. 
Both peoples were satisfied to leave the neutrality of the Great Lakes 


to be guaranteed by nothing more than the Rush-Bagot Exchange 
of Notes ; and this arrangement stood the strain of 1827 when 
Americans aided and abetted a Canadian rebellion, when Canadian 
raiders sent an American vessel — the Caroline — over Niagara, when 
the Americans tried one of them for murder, and the British Govern- 
ment threatened war if he were executed. 


It was the general prevalence of this peace psychology that rebuilt 
the international Law of the Seas from the ruins left by the Napo- 
leonic warfare of unrestricted reprisals. It was airily assumed by 
the jurists that these essential expressions of the war had been 
just exceptional irregularities and illegalities ; and that with peace 
the principles of international law would be revived unimpaired and 
unimpeached. Though why war, which voids public compacts and 
private contracts alike, should avail nothing against these customs 
and compromises of so-called international law is not clear to the 
lay mind. 

But undoubtedly the imposing corpus of case-law produced by 
prize-court judgments and other settlements, which was, of course, 
based on previous principles of " international law," had given these 
principles a practical reinforcement and recognition. And Sea War 
was still waged with the old weapons of wooden ships, battering or 
boarding one another as in the days of the " Consolato del Mare." 
So the lawyers revived the formulae of international law as in statu 
quo ante helium and represented the fundamental facts as exceptions 
proving the rule, or as " piracies " or " reprisals " according to 
whether they were committed by foes or friends. While the sailors 
went on building their " wooden walls " and didn't worry about 
the steam and steel that was revolutionizing strategy and con- 
struction. " Hearts of oak are our ships " — " Jolly tars are 
our men " — " Ready, aye, ready," sang the patriots of that day. 
But then, as now, they would have been readier if there had 
been fewer heads of oak among the jolly tars and their political 

In these conditions the principal European Sea Powers went to 
war with one another in 1854 f° r reasons that are more clear to us 


than they were to them. But the Crimean war was an imperial and 
political war in which the winning of the war did not call for any 
extreme expression of sea power. The British and French as 
belligerents were, therefore, able to keep in view their commercial 
interests as neutrals, and agree to a liberal regulation of their sea 
warfare. It was consequently easy for sailors and sea-lawyers to 
include in the peace the provisions of the Declaration of Paris (1856) 
which promoted to the dignity of " international law " the practices 
followed in the Crimean war, namely, (1) the abolition of privateer- 
ing, (2) the exemption of non-contraband neutral goods on enemy 
ships, (3) the exemption of non-contraband enemy goods on neutral 
ships, (4) the abolition of " paper " blockades. The first two were 
concessions by the French, the last two by the British. But the 
Americans, to whom belligerency then seemed an unlikely contin- 
gency and neutrality a natural condition, boldly demanded the 
exemption of all private property at sea — a provision they had 
already embodied in a treaty with Prussia (1785) and had pressed 
on the Sea Powers unsuccessfully in 1823. 

The British, still supreme at sea, rejected this reform, and the 
Americans consequently did not adhere to the Declaration of Paris 
being in this respect, with some South American States, the only 
exceptions. An intransigence which a few years later they regretted 
when their Civil War made them belligerents. However, in the 
war of 1866, Prussia and Austria exempted private property at sea, 
this being almost entirely a Land War. In 1870 Germany similarly 
exempted the French, but exacted the usual less liberal practice 
when the latter did not reciprocate and destroyed enemy prizes 
without bringing them before a Prize Court. (Ludwig and 
Vorwdrts.) In 1871 Italy included the immunity of private 
property at sea in its treaty of commerce with the United States. 
But with the general growth of imperialism and navalism in the last 
quarter of the century there was a reaction against further develop- 
ment of sea law towards a Freedom of the Seas on these lines. 
And, at the Second Peace Conference, the British, French, Russians, 
Japanese, and others all opposed such a Freedom of the Seas on 

The assumption generally made by jurists that the Declaration of 
Paris is " general international law " seems questionable in view of 


the fact — that it was not at the time agreeable either to the interests 
and ideals of progressive opinion or to the interests of pacific neutral 
peoples in the last century — that it has never been accepted by 
Americans who may soon be the leading Sea Power — that none of 
its provisions except that as to privateering, now obsolete, have 
been observed in actual practice throughout any subsequent sea 
warfare, i.e. in the American Civil War, in the Japanese-Russian 
and Franco-German wars, or in the Great War — and that the 
conditions of sea warfare on which it was based have now been 
completely revolutionized. 


The Paris proceedings, in which America as a potential permanent 
neutral pressed for reform, and the British, as a recent and fairly 
regular belligerent, opposed it, were almost immediately followed 
by the proceedings of the Civil War in which the roles were reversed. 
There the U.S.A. was in the position of the dominant sea power 
fighting for its existence against the destructive " piracies " of the 
minor Sea Power it was reducing by blockade. The British Govern- 
ment was a neutral whose sympathies were with its old enemies the 
Southerners, and whose industrial and commercial interests were 
suffering heavily from the cotton blockade and from the belligerencies 
of Federal cruisers and Confederate commerce destroyers. So 
Freedom of the Seas and immunity of private property went off the 
American Bill of Fare ; and Chief Justice Chase applying " con- 
tinuous voyage " stopped the influx of British goods to the Con- 
federates by way of Cuba and the Bahamas. But the British were 
by themselves then an " armed neutrality " capable of maintaining 
their neutral rights to trade with the blockaded belligerent. " We 
want cotton," Palmerston would growl in reply to the American 
protests against blockade runners. 

That the various acute crises that arose did not cause a war is 
due not to any formulae of international law regulating the rights 
and responsibilities of belligerents and neutrals, still less to any 
statesmanship of either party, but to the fact that those British 
neutrals who suffered most — the Lancashire cotton operatives and 
the London capitalists — were most in sympathy with a war for the 


suppression of slavery. We have, in fact, here a good example of the 
rule that a neutral will assert her rights or accept restrictions on 
them according to the view taken by her public opinion as to the 
justice or otherwise of a belligerent's cause and not in accordance 
with any abstract rule of " international law," or in allegiance to 
any abstract authority of international institutions. And the recur- 
rent evidence of this fact which, moreover, was recognized by Vattel 
(III. f. 135) two centuries ago, is a far firmer foundation on which 
to build a new regime of " international law " than evidence of the 
revival in long periods of peace of legal formulae that are regularly 
repudiated in the straits and under the strains of war. We have here 
evidence also that apart from this underlying " moral " pressure, 
the solutions of crises in such conflicts as those of the American civil 
war are not based on conformity with international law but on 
compromises of balance of power. The balance being struck 
between resolution of the belligerent to win a war of vital impor- 
tance and reluctance to risk an " armed neutrality " or an 
additional belligerency. 

Thus, during the last war, in October 1914 the Kim and three 
other steamers, all of Norwegian or Swedish nationality, laden with 
lard, meat, and other food products, the property of five American 
meat-packing concerns, were intercepted at sea en route for Copen- 
hagen ; their cargoes being consigned " to order." The case was 
given against the shippers on circumstantial evidence, as for example 
that during the two previous years only some million and a quarter 
pounds of lard were imported into Denmark from all quarters, but 
the quantity in the four ships in question alone mounted to nineteen 
and a quarter million pounds. The concluding paragraph of the 
Prize Court judgment was as follows (Sir S. Evans the Kim, 1915, 
Probate) : 

" We have arrived at the clear conclusion from the facts proved and the 
reasonable and, indeed, irresistible inferences from them, that the cargoes 
claimed by the shippers as belonging to them at the time of the seizure 
were not on their way to Denmark to be incorporated into the common 
stock of that country for consumption or bona-fide sale or otherwise ; but 
on the contrary, that they were on their way not only to German territory 
but also to the German Government and their forces, for naval and 
military use, as their real ultimate destinations. To hold the contrary 


would be to allow one's eyes to be filled by the dust of theories and 
technicalities and to be blind to the realities of the case." 

So the dusty " theories and technicalities *' of international law were 
dusted away and the goods were condemned as good prize. Of 
course the American Government protested, and compensation for 
the value of the goods amounting to fifteen million dollars was paid 
to the meat packers. By such construction the jurisprudence of 
blockade in sea law was developed and by similar concessions its 
application was mitigated in favour of America, to the discouragement 
of the British sea blockaders and to the loudly expressed disgust of 
blockheaded publicists, politicians, and propagandists in London. 
But this compromise between principle and policy was necessary in 
order to avoid alienating the sympathies of the plutocracy and public 
of the most powerful of the neutral peoples. 


But we must return to the American Civil War. In the first issue 
that arose — the British recognition of Southern belligerency — the 
British were logically and legally right, for without such recognition 
" international law " could not recognize and other powers could 
not respect the Northern blockade. But undoubtedly a British 
cabinet and ruling class in sympathy with the Republic could have 
found a less offensive way out of the difficulty. In the Trent affair 
the Americans were undoubtedly right in arresting the Southern 
envoys and might quite properly have seized the steamer too. But 
a Government less anxious to give the British " a dose of their own 
medicine " would have avoided the issue. And it is very creditable 
to the American statesmen that in the settlement they remained 
loyal to the Freedom of the Seas and reverenced the letter of 
the law. 

In the more serious belligerent act of stopping the use of the 
British port of Nassau as an entrepot for blockade runners by seizing 
neutral goods and shipping passing between British ports and the 
Bahamas, the Americans could again stew the British in their own 
juice by taking advantage of the precedent of British action against 
a similar use by the colonists of the Dutch West Indies in the War 
of Independence (v. above). They thus reinforced the rigour of 


blockade by adding the doctrine of " ultimate destination " to that 
of " broken voyage " and to that of the " rule of 1756 " — a serious 
restriction of the Freedom of the Seas that was, however, in complete 
conformity with the real requirements of war. (Chief Justice Chase, 
the Bermuda — the Peterhoff.) Finally the American claim against 
the British for liability in respect of the Alabama and other commerce 
destroyers, piratical in that these raiders had to destroy their cap- 
tures without submission to any Prize Court other than that which 
they held on their own decks, was settled by an arbitral Tribunal 
that under judicial forms produced an arbitrary award that under 
international law had little legal justification. In fact the undis- 
tributed millions of the indemnity of $15,750,000 still presumably 
in the American Treasury, might well now be used like the Chinese 
indemnity for the promotion of better relations between the two 
countries. But the United States had good moral cause for com- 
plaint in the case of these Southern raiders, seeing that the respon- 
sibility of neutrals for restraining their citizens from acts of war was 
first clearly recognized by their Foreign enlistment Act (20th April, 
1818) which served as basis for the first British Act of 1819, extended 
by the Act of 1870. 


We now come to the first appearance of the American Navy as a 
factor in the balance of power — that precarious cantilever which 
eventually crashed with the weight of its own steel. And it was a 
whole generation after the Civil War before, in the last years of the 
century, the Monroe Doctrine and Freedom of the Seas caused war 
between the United States and a European Sea Power. 

Such a war between the United States and Spain was inevitable. 
For, as already pointed out, both these policies conduce to bring the 
United States into collision with a European State using its sea 
power to coerce colonies in the American continents. 

The Spanish colony of Cuba was a next-door neighbour of the 
United States and one in especially close economic relations with 
them — the principal industry, sugar, having been created and being 
conducted by American money and management. Besides this 
interested relationship there was a strong appeal to American 


idealism in the Cuban independence movement, whose repeated 
revolts had more than once brought a Spanish- American war within 
sight, as in the Virginius incident, when the Spanish authorities 
executed some American filibusters. 

Cuba had grown stronger as Spain had grown weaker, and the 
Cuban revolt of the 'nineties soon reached that point at which the 
Mother Country is reduced to systematic and shocking maltreatment 
of a revolting daughter in the vain hope of recovering maternal 
control. The campaign of General Weyler with its deliberate de- 
struction of a prosperous community and with its disease-stricken 
and starving concentration camps, was rightly considered in the 
United States as a crime against civilization that called for inter- 
national intervention. But the mandate for such intervention had 
long been assumed by the United States under the Monroe doctrine 
and could only be applied by the American Navy as a sea police. 

Nevertheless the Americans are a pacific people and both an insult 
and an injury were indispensable to carry them into war. The first 
was supplied by the publication in the New York Press of a private 
letter written by the Spanish Minister in Washington referring to 
the President, Mr. McKinley, as a " weak " and a " would-be " 
politician. There was nothing incorrect in this letter, which, more- 
over, as the State Department at once pointed out, must have 
been " criminally obtained " — but it served. And Americans were 
ready for war when the match was put to the magazine by the blow- 
ing up of the Maine, an American battleship sent as a naval demon- 
stration, while in Havana Harbour, with a loss of two hundred 
American lives. Two subsequent examinations of the wreck pro- 
duced evidence that the explosion was external ; but later experi- 
ence as to the effect of change of climate on high explosives and as 
to the action of internal explosions suggests that it was accidental. 
While there is always the probability that, if a crime, it was com- 
mitted by a Cuban. But it also served. And America, the sovereign 
Sea Power of the future, tried its new teeth on Spain, the sovereign 
Sea Power of the past. 



This " war of aggression " by America, with its very questionable 
casus belli and its most unquestionable cause for belligerency, is 
commended to the careful study both of those pacifists who believe 
in keeping the peace by legal formulae and of those patriots who 
believe that the Monroe Doctrine will always be accepted as a 
principle of international law by other sea powers. For on this 
occasion it most certainly was not so accepted. Spain had already 
surrendered on all the points at issue or agreed to submit them to 
arbitration. Pacific public opinion in Europe considered that the 
Americans were being carried into a war of aggression by the Sugar 
Trust's control of politics and of the Press and by underground 
conspiracies. The attitude of the continental governments was that 
the United States were intervening in a domestic dispute between 
Spain and a colony with a view to capturing the colony for them- 
selves. Which formidable combination of public opinion and political 
interest produced in Washington a combined move of the European 
Powers towards forcing mediation and moderation on the American 

One of the writers was at that time in the Washington Embassy 
under Lord Pauncefote — a diplomatist of exceptional character and 
capacity. By training a lawyer and by temperament a pacifist, he 
has an honoured place in history as the author of the first General 
Arbitration Treaty ; which though torpedoed by the Senate left 
floating in official files much material which went to build future 
Treaties. He at once took the lead in the joint intervention for peace 
that was being organized in the Washington Diplomatic Corps, at 
the instigation of continental Governments. His staff, who took 
the narrow view that Anglo-American relations mattered much 
more than the cause of arbitration or the preservation of peace, were 
dismayed. Happily at the eleventh hour and the fifty-ninth minute 
the British Government took the same less liberal line ; which though 
wrong in its moral principles as these were understood at the time, 
was right in the more fundamental moral principles that have since 
been analysed and that underlie the arguments hereinafter advanced. 
On the very morning of the day (6th April, 1898) on which the 


Presidential message that would produce war was to be put before 
Congress, the Ambassadors of the six Great Powers, including 
Great Britain, had' jointly appealed for peace and caused the 
postponement of the message. On the same afternoon came 
cabled instructions, and Sir Julian Pauncefote, as he then was, 
thereupon altered his course with what his chief, Lord Salisbury, 
once called an " abrupt curve," and that with such promptitude 
and prestidigitation that it has never to this day been detected. 
And he legitimately earned the affection of the American public 
as a friend who had caused the consequent collapse of the com- 
bination against them, and less legitimately the admiration of his 
colleagues as a farceur assez fin who had left them " to carry 
the baby." 

The moral of this " cautionary tale " of Victorian days, told here 
for the first time, is that the most pacific and politic of public men 
cannot see through all the millstones of the Mills of God — that an 
indefeasible definition of a " war of aggression " has still to be 
drafted — and that an Anglo-American association in world policy 
and sea police is a sounder and safer security and sanction for peace 
than any such definition can ever be. For who will question to-day 
but that the short and sharp cutting out of the cancer of Spanish 
imperialism from the body politic of America was better for the 
peace and progress of the world than such a prolonged remedial 
treatment as was applied, for example, to the Ottoman cancer 
in Macedonia — a treatment that expressed international inter- 
vention formally while leaving its real intentions fundamentally 

We have not selected this example in which Uncle Sam appears 
as an " aggressor " because of his present unpopularity with the 
British as the Paris who is eloping with their Helen and Command 
of the Seas. The Spanish- American War was probably inevitable, 
and it would be easy to find many incidents in comparatively recent 
history in which it would have been extremely difficult for any one 
nation and, still more, any group of nations to decide who was the 
aggressor in the war. One example would be the insurrectionary 
wars of the Balkans against the perfectly legal sovereignty of the 
Sultan. From many such examples we will pick out one con- 
spicuous case. On the eve of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian 


War Mr. Gladstone sent the following letter on 15th July, 1870, to 
Queen Victoria : 

" Mr. Gladstone presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and 
reports that at the meeting of the House of Commons to-day Mr. Disraeli 
(leader of the Opposition) made enquiries from the Government respecting 
the differences between France and Prussia, and in so doing expressed 
opinions strongly adverse to France as the apparent aggressor. Mr. 
Gladstone in replying admitted it to be the opinion of the Government 
that there was no matter known to be in controversy of a nature to 
warrant a disturbance of the general peace. He said the course of events 
was not favourable, and the decisive moment must in all likelihood be 
close at hand. 

" Before four came the telegram which announced the French 
declaration of war. It is evident that the sentiment of the House on 
both sides generally condemns the conduct of France." 

The sentence of history, on the other hand, now generally con- 
demns the conduct of Germany and tells us that Bismarck tricked 
Louis Napoleon into appearing as the " aggressor." 


Returning across the Atlantic to the Spanish American War we 
find that once hostilities were begun the Anglo-American association 
in the war was only restricted by British respect for the more formal 
requirements of neutrality. The part played, for example, by the 
British Naval and Military Attaches at Washington after accepting 
invitations to attend " very informally " the consultations of the 
American Expeditionary Staffs has never been revealed. Though 
one of the present writers could tell the story, having been present 
himself at the embarkation of the expedition, he feels it is for Lord 
Lee to tell it or not, as he pleases. It will be enough for the present 
purpose to say that the British Naval Attache was practically 
Commodore of the fleet of transports, and that his contribution to 
the successful debut of the American Navy was no less than that 
of his British colleague at Manila with its famous slogan of " Blood 
is thicker than water." It was, of course, all very incorrect — the 
Naval Attache of a neutral Embassy navigating the transports that 
were invading the colony of a friendly State (Spain), or the Admiral 


of a neutral fleet (the British) threatening to fire on the fleet of a 
friendly Power (Germany) unless it stopped covering another friendly 
fleet (the Spanish) from attack. But if our sailors sailed very 
near the wind in keeping on the " windy side of the law," they were 
on the right tack. Mr. Hay, American Ambassador in London at 
the time, reports : 

" I find the drawing-room sentiment altogether with us. If we wanted 
it we could have the practical assistance of the British Navy." 

He had it more than he knew. 

The impression made on American feeling by this aid and com- 
fort was profound. It can be compared, indeed, with the effect 
made on British opinion by the American assistance on a far larger 
scale and on a far worse crisis twenty years later. For America, 
though she entered the war with Spain light-heartedly, soon felt 
nervous about this new experience. For example, when the Spanish 
pride drove the unfortunate Admiral Cervera and his hastily 
mobilised squadron out across the Atlantic to certain destruction 
by the American fleet, the news that the Spanish fleet had put to 
sea sent the summer boarders flying inland in panic from every 
Atlantic coastal resort. And the successful voyage of the battleship 
Oregon from the Pacific to the Atlantic was applauded as though 
rounding the Horn in summer was an unprecedented feat of naviga- 
tion. The American Navy's feelings towards the co-operation and 
countenance given it by the British Navy was indeed something 
like that of an American debutante at her first European Court 
Ball who finds herself treated as a younger sister by a Dowager 

Not that the debutante didn't know even then how to stand on 
her rights. One of the present writers was entrusted with the task 
of extricating from captivity a British collier, one of those sent out 
by the Spanish to coal Cervera 's fleet. The old Welsh Captain 
of this Restormel had successfully played hide-and-seek with the 
American cruisers round the West Indian Islands by anticipating 
many of the dodges for camouflage and concealment afterwards 
rediscovered in the Great War. But within a few miles of Santiago 
harbour and safety he was run down by what he described as a 
" New York skyscraper travelling like the Chicago Limited " — 


which was the transatlantic liner St. Paul converted into an 
armed cruiser. Upon which, like a prudent man, he took refuge in 
the " diplomatic channels." 


Passing over several " secondary " wars which imposed no severe 
strain on the precepts of international law, even though these were 
already falling behind relationship with realities, we come to the 
great struggle in Eastern Asia between Russians and Japanese. In 
this struggle British and Americans were neutrals and imposed 
respect for sea law on the Russian naval commanders who were 
tempted to resort to commerce destruction in reprisal for the 
Japanese blockade. The Russians sank five British vessels — the 
Knight Commander, the Hipsang, the St. Kilda, the Oldhamia, and 
the Ikhona. In all these cases the crews, passengers, and mails 
were taken off. Some persons were killed by gunfire on board the 
Hipsang, but she was attempting to escape and refused to stop 
after repeated warning shots. The Oldhamia was sunk by accident, 
having been run ashore by her prize crew through faulty navigation. 
The other three were sunk under the Russian naval prize regulations, 
which allowed of their destruction for military reasons, stated in 
this case to be fear of recapture. In every one of these cases, and 
especially that of the Knight Commander, the most vigorous protests 
were made by the British Government, and the imminence of British 
intervention in the naval war was quite sufficiently indicated. The 
Russian Government accordingly receded from its position and gave 
stringent orders to its naval commanders to avoid a repetition of 
such incidents. 

It would undoubtedly not have done so with such promptitude, 
and the British might have been involved in the war, had not the 
United States Government joined in the protests against the 
destruction of the Knight Commander, and had not the Russian 
Government been officially informed by the State Department (30th 
July, 1904) that it — 

" viewed with the gravest concern the application of similar treatment 
to American vessels and cargoes." (U.S. Foreign Relations 1904, page 


And it was this Anglo-American association in an armed neutrality 
that preserved the peace when an even more serious crisis arose. 

The Russian Baltic Fleet, on its way to the Far East and on 
passage through the North Sea, came after dark upon the Hull 
steam fishing-fleet trawling in its usual formation near the Dogger 
Bank. Some of these Russian warships suddenly opened fire, sank 
several trawlers with loss of life and hurried on their course. It was 
supposed that the practice of organized trawler fleets of manoeuvring 
under an " admiral," whose light signals they obeyed, had led the 
Russians to assume that they had come into contact with a hostile 
squadron of destroyers secretly purchased by the Japanese in 
Europe. But even the jovial traditions of the Tzarist naval messes 
or the temperamental nerves of pre-revolutionary Russians sailing 
to certain destruction cannot explain such a mistake by sailors. 

One of the present writers heard from the best possible source a 
better explanation that there can be no harm in publishing now for 
the first time. It was that the Russian secret service had warned 
the sailors that trawlers had been hired by Japanese agents to tow 
lines of mines across the course of the fleet. Accordingly when lines 
of trawlers appeared towing their trawls, the Russians were expect- 
ing them and fired incontinently. They thereby sailed into the trap 
prepared by hostile secret agents who had allowed their Russian 
colleagues to come into possession of their supposed plots. And in 
this underground war of espionage the Russians narrowly escaped 
total discomfiture. For the British fleet was at once mobilized and 
only prompt apologies and acceptance of enquiry and awards to the 
sufferers by the Russians prevented war. And the moral is that 
naval armaments and intelligence services are dangerous weapons 
that some obscure blunder may make a cause of destruction rather 
than of defence to the country that pays their costly upkeep. 
Security by the guarantee of an armed neutrality is at least not 
exposed to this danger. 


We have now to consider the last effort to give international 
regulation of war at sea a general system and sanction. This 
occurred in that last quarter of the nineteenth century, in the course 


of which the balance of power at sea on the old basis of battle- 
ships and naval bases had been raised to its highest expression. 
This was the age in Great Britain of Two and Three-Power Standards 
of building programmes and naval panics, of " We want eight and 
we won't wait." In Germany it was followed by the age of a bid 
for parity on the seas and for a " place in the sun." The transition 
from pacifism to militarism is marked in the British peoples by a 
comparison of the ceremonial of the 1887 Royal Jubilee, which 
was as civilian in character as the exigencies of costume and colour 
allow, with the military panoply of the 1897 celebrations. In the 
German people it was marked by the " sabre rattling " and " shining 
armour " of the new War Lord as compared with predecessors who 
represented the gemutlichkeit of old Germany. For modern 
monarchies are democratised to the extent of having to conform in 
their costumes to a military mood of the ruling class. 

On the other hand, the preparations for war evoked a corre- 
sponding effort by the peoples to reinforce peace. And it was recog- 
nised that the only real way to this was through a reduction of 
armaments by agreement. Failing this, a substitute was sought by 
restricting and regulating war, by reinforcing the precepts of 
" international law " and by recognizing the principle of judicial 
arbitration. Every fresh evidence that the impending war would 
be universal and unrestrained by any respect for honour or humanity 
was met by attempts to pledge Governments to accept all-in 
arbitration and other preventatives of war. It was magnificent 
but it was not war. And Europe was infected with war — the war 
fever that broke out in 19 14. 

As the practical results of the Hague Peace Conference and of 
other pacifist proceedings were all either evaded or erased by the 
Great War within the same generation, it will be enough for our 
present purpose to review very briefly their more essential and least 
ephemeral features. The pious resolutions that they produced were 
necessarily compromises between various international and national 
ideals and interests. But in the main there were two opposing 
forces — on the one side a loose association of public movements 
demanding the prevention of war, expressed through politicians, 
publicists, and jurists — on the other the political and professional 
responsibility for warlike preparation, which was expressed through 


a close alliance of realist politicians with naval and military experts. 
The first of these — the pacifist camp, was weakened by having no 
very general definite programme for war prevention and by having 
as leaders politicians who were also personally responsible for war 
preparation. The British pacifists, looking forward to a political 
horizon on which the storm clouds were already gathering, and 
ignorant of the automatic ddclanchements arranged by secret 
diplomacy, were inclined to concentrate on postponing formal 
declarations of war by preliminary procedures and on prohibiting 
the more odious weapons. 

The Americans, whose sky was as yet clear, looking back on a 
century of comparative peace, and ignoring the fact that " inter- 
national law," whether customary or conventional, had broken 
down whenever seriously contrary to the belligerent interest even 
in secondary wars, considered the time was ripe for raising these 
customary rules to the status of an international code. As against 
these pacifist idealists the naval and military realists engaged 
between themselves in a preliminary warfare for securing that the 
results of the Conferences should give their own side an advantage 
in the war for which they were preparing. And the resultant 
regulations represent the confused compromises created by these* 
latter expert manoeuvres for position, rather than any common 
consensus gentium as to what were the general principles and 
practices of international law. 


We shall pass over the First Hague Conference (1899), which 
was almost immediately followed by the South African and Russo- 
Japanese Wars and did little more than advertise the Anglo- 
American plan of arbitration as a substitute for war. And, turning 
to the Second Hague Conference (1907) we find that, so far as the 
Americans and British were concerned, conditions were very 
favourable. In America the prestige in the Republican party of 
that hundred per cent. American, Roosevelt, and of the corporation 
lawyer, Root, was overcoming the opposition of the Senate reaction- 
aries and of the American ruling class to the principle of judicial 
arbitration. Moreover, the good seed sown by the Olney-Paunceforte 


treaty of the nineties that had fallen on stony ground in the Hague 
and that had been choked by thorns in the Senate, now bore fruit 
in the " Root " crop of treaties, followed by the " Bryan " after- 
math. In England a Liberal Government pledged to disarmament 
and peace had swept the country in 1906. The American ruling 
class was still critical and the British ruling class so cynical that 
the Times could jeer at the Conference as a sham. But the American 
delegation to the Hague could give expression to pacifist public 
opinion now thoroughly alarmed at the armed alignments in 
Europe. And even the British Government was stirred to making 
eventually a drastic departure from the navalist policy of its 

Unfortunately discussion of disarmament was vetoed by the 
Continental Powers as a condition of coming into Conference, and 
the agenda was accordingly restricted to regulation of war. A 
regulation of the "Law and Practice of Naval Warfare" was 
accepted as one of the agenda ; and the instructions of the British 
delegates adopted the pacifist attitude of the day that — 

" anything which restrains acts of war is in itself a step towards the 
abolition of all war, and by diminishing the apprehension of the evils 
which war would cause, removes one incentive to expenditure on 
armaments " 

— a fallacy no doubt and one that was curiously contradicted in 
a later paragraph of the same instructions which gave as one of the 
reasons for rejecting the immunity of private property at sea that — 

" it was likely to so limit the prospective liability of war as to remove 
some of the considerations which would restrain public opinion from 
contemplating it, and might after the outbreak of war tend to prolong it." 


The Americans had again put forward their policy for the 
immunity of private property at sea with a reservation of the right 
of effective blockade, and though not ruled out by the British it was 
rejected on the ground that — 

" the British Navy is the only offensive weapon which Great Britain has 
against Continental Powers " 


and that — 

" such immunity would deprive it of the full rights of commercial 


But the increased importance of America appears in the sop that 

was held out by the assurance — ■ 

" that in case of disarmament the British Government might feel that 

the risks they would run by adhering to such an agreement and the 

objection to it in principle would be outweighed by the general gain and 


For America by then had quite a respectable navy that counted in 
calculations of the balance of sea power. 

The American proposal was received in much the same spirit of 
professed open-mindedness, but private obstruction, by eleven 
other Powers, including France, Russia, and Japan ; while twenty- 
two, including Germany, Austria, and Italy supported it. Germany, 
indeed, immediately pointed out that the exception in favour of 
blockade might permit a general evasion of the exemption ; while 
Great Britain saw a similar possibility of evasion in an unrestricted 
right of declaring contraband. Both of these contentions were 
true enough ; and if the exemption had been generally approved 
as " law of nations " it would not have prevented or even postponed 
the unrestricted naval warfare by way of reprisals in the Great War. 
As it was — by forcing this broad and basic issue of ** Freedom of 
the Seas " to a division that reproduced the two armed camps — by 
thus associating it in British minds with the policy of the Central 
Powers in fighting British sea power — and by reserving the right of 
blockade so as to conciliate British opposition, the Americans gave 
their traditional cause a set-back. 


The British, then on their side, renewed their very practical 
proposal for abolishing contraband altogether ; which also at first 
sight seemed a concession to Freedom of the Seas. For contraband, 
one of the conceptions on which customary "international law in 
war " was based, and round which most such case-law had been 
built, had been rendered utterly unreasonable and unrealizable by 
the developments of modern war. 


The gradual inclusion in war making of the whole civil man power 
and industrial machinery had rendered obsolete the old conception 
of contraband and the old controversies as to whether this or that 
food or manufacture should be classified as absolute or conditional 
contraband. For whether contraband is confined to an insignificant 
and obsolete prohibition of the supply of swords and saddlery as in 
the Elizabethan Order in Council (27th July, 1589), or, as in the 
Orders in Council of the 13th April, 1916, is construed into a pre- 
vention of all trade by being made to include foodstuffs and other 
goods capable of military use sent under continuous voyage through 
neutral ports, entirely depended on the policy of belligerents and 
on the power of neutrals. Of this controversy there was and is no 
solution. A sword is absolute contraband, a reaping-hook non- 
contraband, a hammer to beat reaping-hooks into swords conditional 
contraband, and the steel for a reaping-hook to cut wheat for the 
army is — what ? Moreover, the concomitants of contraband had 
all become equally confused. Search at sea was no longer practicable 
in view of the size of ships. " Continuous transport " by rail, road, 
and canal to the enemy from a neutral port had become almost as 
easy and economical as direct shipment. ' ' Destination to the army ' ' 
had become meaningless when a whole nation was mobilized. 
Wherefore the British, who are a practical, if not a logical, race, 
were prepared to cut loose this whole clutter of mediaeval tackle and 
substitute a system of Consular certificates as to the non-military 
character of cargoes. The principal anxiety of the British Govern- 
ment of the day was to remove restrictions and annoyances from our 
neutral commerce. We thought of ourselves still as normally 
neutral. And the British commercial classes had the liveliest 
recollections of inconvenience during the Russo-Japanese War. 

As neutrals the British, dependent as they were, and are, on 
foreign food and raw materials, might have had all these interfered 
with as contraband under continuous transport. While as belliger- 
ents they could enforce an economic blockade by such a system of 
certificates under sanction of sea power. The British, in fact, 
proposed to abolish contraband and establish a belligerent's 
right to blockade under regulations in conformity with modern 

Thus Great Britain in her pre-war power and pride boldly made 


an attempt single-handed at this second Hague Conference to 
revise international law ; but she failed because the British delegates 
were not possessed of the information as to modern conditions 
which the war subsequently provided. The proposal was practical 
and not unprincipled, though it set free British command of the sea 
from ancient shackles in the event of a British belligerency. But 
" the nations not so blessed as she " in sea power had no intention of 
falling for that particular tyrant. Twenty-six minor States were 
still prepared to accept a British sea police on its own terms. But 
the sea-going powers — Germany, France, Russia, and America — 
opposed. The United States, though not prepared to abolish 
contraband, were in favour of restricting it to the most obvious 
military supplies. American interests were, in fact, already the 
same as British in respect of contraband. For these two nations 
were the principal sources of supply in munitions and war material 
to the war makers of the world. But at that time the much smaller 
American Navy, with the recollections of its recent naval war with 
Spain, made Americans unwilling to rely solely on blockade. As 
to the other sea powers, France and Germany, their reasons for 
opposing were as obvious as their representations for doing so were 
obscure. But they had on their side the general consensus 
gentium that a neutral should not profit through its private 
traders by a traffic in arms prohibited to it as a State. The situation 
suggested an Armed Neutrality in the making and a re-alignment of 
balance of sea power that would cut right across the armed camps 
in which land power was already organized. 


So the project was dropped and the Conference, since contraband 
was not abolished, clearly had to define it — as without some agreed 
definition the proposed international prize court certainly could not 
function. But, as we have seen, a sound — even a sane — definition 
was impossible, and in view of the chaotic conflict of interests 
involved, the Conference was forced back on the old formulae of 
" absolute " and " conditional " contraband with the addition of a 
M free list " of absolute non-contraband (Decl. of London, Arts. 


In the resultant Declaration of London anything except what 
was on the " free list " might be declared " conditional " and 
everything " conditional " might be made " absolute." The free 
list did not include food, but did include cotton, rubber, ores, and 
other materials of the first importance to war makers in general and 
Germany in particular. Moreover, as " absolute " contraband was 
liable to capture only when consigned to an enemy port and " con- 
ditional " contraband only when proved to be for consumption by 
enemy forces, and as " continuous transport " was not applicable 
to conditional contraband — Germany secured the right of importing 
food and all conditional contraband through convenient neutral 
ports in Holland and Sweden. In fact, these articles in the 
Declaration of London (34 and 35) were adopted bodily from the 
German draft (Lord Desborough, H. of Lords, 4th March, 1911). 

And in its other compromises connected with contraband the 
Declaration was no less disadvantageous to British and American 
interests — whether as principal neutrals or belligerents. For 
example, Art. 48 provided that prizes must not be destroyed at sea 
— the usual practice of the commerce-destroyer without command of 
the sea. But the following Art. 49 excepted cases when the security 
of the commerce-destroyer or the success of her campaign could be 
imperilled — and when could they not ? In short, in this preliminary 
wordy war of the jurists, Germany secured an advantage so great 
that it was likely only to be of practical value in war with Great 
Britain by forcing on the latter a repudiation of the Declaration 
and a rupture with America. 

No wonder the Declaration of London caused so little satisfaction 
both to those British who were already preparing for a war with 
Germany, and to those who thought the best insurance against such 
a war would be an international association for a new Freedom of 
the Seas. And such an association might have been secured had 
there been an agreement between the British and Americans as to 
the abolition of capture of private property at sea and of contra- 
band, subject to a right of blockade. 

We have seen that the British in giving up contraband as a bad 
job relied in future belligerencies on commercial blockade. But the 
Declaration of London took the edge and point off the blockade 
weapon. For the expected enemy — Germany — could with little 


inconvenience import all she required through Dutch or Swedish 
ports immune to blockade. Moreover, modern weapons of the 
minor sea power such as mines, submarines, and aeroplanes, had 
already made a close blockade impossible ; and it was very question- 
able whether neutrals would accept as an effective blockade a long 
distance cordon or a preventive patrol on the High Seas. Nor 
would even this be effective in most cases except under inter- 
pretations of " continuous voyage." An attempt was indeed made 
at the Naval Conference to impose an artificial limitation on the 
blockading radius of one thousand miles, but this was rejected. 
The French formula eventually adopted was that "the question 
whether a blockade is effective is a question of fact " (Art. 3), 
which is irrefutable. 

On the other hand, Arts. 2 and 18 restricted the blockade rigidly 
to belligerent ports, and Art. 19 relieved from capture any vessel 
steering for a neutral port whatever its ultimate destination — 
which was a repudiation of " continuous voyage." Moreover, there 
was nothing novel in this — it was a fair codification of the customary 
law. But under modern conditions of world commerce it un- 
doubtedly deprived sea power of blockade — its most effective weapon 
for reducing a land power. 

We might continue this process through all the clauses of the 
Declaration of London in restriction of belligerency, but we wiJl 
only point out one other respect in which this attempt to codify 
" international law " was doomed to break down under the strain 
of war. 

The prohibition of privateering in the Declaration of Paris is 
often quoted as a successful example of a prohibition of a weapon 
of war. But that this weapon (already obsolete) was merely super- 
seded, not suppressed, is shown by the insistence of secondary sea 
Powers at the Conference on the right to use a mercantile marine 
for war under the naval flag. Nor were the British successful in 
getting any regulation, still less any restriction of such conversion. 
Thus a belligerent might buy ships and armaments from neutrals 
and combine and convert them into warships at sea as in the 
Alabama case. A more formidable threat to British commerce 
when neutral, or a more formidable task for British cruisers when 
belligerent, can scarcely have been conceived. (See Conventions VI 


and VII annexed to the Final Act of the Second Peace Conference, 
18th October, 1907, and Arts. 55-56 of the Declaration of 

Small wonder that the House of Lords rejected the Prize Court 
Bill based on the Declaration, with general approval from public 
opinion. And how right was this British attitude was shown when 
the war broke out. The Foreign Office in the course of the war 
circulated a Memorandum (7th July, 1916) explaining why the 
British had to depart from all the rules of the Declaration of London. 
We will content ourselves by quoting four short paragraphs ; but 
they are crucial : 

" The manifold developments of naval and military science, the 
invention of new engines of war, the concentration by the Germanic 
Powers of the whole body of their resources on military ends has produced 
conditions altogether different from those prevailing in previous naval 

" The rules laid down in the Declaration of London could not stand 
the strain imposed by the test of rapidly changing conditions and 
tendencies which could not have been foreseen." 

" The Allied Governments were forced to recognize the situation thus 
created, and to adapt the rules of the Declaration from time to time to 
meet these changing conditions." 

" These successive modifications may perhaps have exposed the 
purpose of the Allies to misconstruction; they have therefore come to 
the conclusion that they must confine themselves simply to applying 
the historic and admitted rules of the law of nations." 

The Declaration of London, that final and most formal instrument 
of international law, was bound to break down in application, 
firstly, because it was not in relation with the revolutionary changes 
in modern blockades ; and, secondly, because there was no " Armed 
Neutrality " behind it. 


The other results of this effort to regulate naval war were in the 
direction of restricting or restraining belligerents in the use of naval 
weapons. Pacifists found justification for this on grounds of their 


inhumanity — jurists on grounds of their incompatibility with the 
customs or compromises of an " International Law " that had 
grown out of the long stabilization of naval warfare — while experts 
as usual could jockey each other over such prohibitions as well as 
over any other proposals. 

We need not dwell at any length on the incipient efforts to restrict 
novel naval weapons in the Conventions of the Hague and Naval 
Conferences. They none of them survived the war, and they all 
of them belong to a sentimental order of ideas that never was to the 
point and that is now becoming impracticable. Anyone sufficiently 
interested can consult these Conventions annexed to the Final Act 
of the Second Peace Conference. (See Appendix to Oppenheim's 
Inter. Law.) Convention VIII concerns mines and torpedoes : 
IX prohibits the bombardment of open towns : X regulates hospital 
ships : XI restricts interference with mail boats and fishing boats, 
and requires the release of merchant crews : XII regulates the 
proposed international Prize Court : XIII regulates the rights and 
responsibilities of neutrals as to naval warfare in respect of contra- 
band, etc. : and XIV prohibits the dropping of explosives from the 

Now the consensus gentium and international conventions 
may avail to maintain a system of regulations against some new 
weapon of especial atrocity such as exploding bullets or poison in 
wells, that does not alter the general conditions of warfare or give 
any one Power especial advantage. But international law will not 
prevent or even postpone a new weapon of destruction that revo- 
lutionizes war or re-weights the Balance of Power. Thus gunpowder 
which revolutionized war, wrecked chivalry and ruined the feudal 
system, and was as odious in that age as is gas to-day. But gun- 
powder and the democratization of war, or as it seemed then, its 
demoralization, was accepted as we shall have to accept gas and its 
indiscriminate destruction of life. Gunpowder in the end has 
worked for good, by making war odious. It is our job to see that 
gas bombs make war " outlawed." 

In any case, the cause of " International Law " and Freedom of 
the Seas cannot be served by using their institutions and ideals to 
bolster up naval warfare in two dimensions — now that the submarine 
and aeroplane are rapidly blossoming out into naval warfare in 


three. It is all to the good that these " paper blockades M of war 
are so clearly shown to be ineffective. Those pacifists or jurists who 
believe that peace will be secured by reviving them would do well 
to ponder that most practical provision of the Declaration of 
London: "the question whether a blockade is effective is a 
question of fact/' The Temple of Peace will have to be built on 
naval facts, not on legal fictions. 


THE Great War was, at sea, a struggle between Great 
Britain and Germany for command of the Narrow Seas. 
In this struggle Great Britain kept command of the sea 
by sheer weight of surface shipping against the challenge 
of German submarines and mines. The German claim to have had 
a command of a sort must be allowed. If " Britannia's march was 
o'er the mountain waves," Germania's " Home was in the deep." 

For the fact is that — as Admiral Mahan recognised — a sort of 
secondary and local command of the sea can be seized on occasion 
by a secondary sea power. He drew a distinction between such 
secondary command and the true command which conveys a more 
or less constant and complete control of High Sea routes and Narrow 
Sea regions — of oversea bases and on enemy coasts. This latter 
he called a " working command." The term is not well chosen, 
because nowadays secondary command " works " as successfully 
and even more sensationally. Thus the German surface squadrons 
bombarded our coast towns, while we were unable to retaliate. 
The German submarine blockade by commerce destruction brought 
us in weeks to an extremity not much better than that to which 
our surface blockade of commerce " deviation " had reduced them 
in years. 

Indeed, the difference between these two forms of blockade is 
to-day rather in their effect on neutrals than in their effectiveness 
against an enemy. In this neutral aspect they might be distin- 
guished as a " regular " and an " irregular " blockade. But as 
we shall be considering them here rather in their aspect as a form 
of belligerency we shall call the more regular blockade of the 
superior sea power a " cut-and-dried " command of the sea, and 
that of the inferior sea power which tends to become piratical raiding, 

6 7 


a " cut-and-run " command. The Germans obtained a cut-and-run 
command of our commercial routes and coast towns, which is ominous 
for the possibilities of future blockades and bombardments by the 
submarine and aeroplane. 

The war began with the British immediately establishing their 
" cut-and-dried " command of the sea. German merchant vessels 
were driven from the seas and German warships reduced to cut- 
and-run tactics. The British then began to develop a strict cut- 
and-dried blockade of the Germans by commerce " deviation " — 
the Germans retaliating with development of a cut-and-run blockade 
by commerce destruction ; in which war of reprisals both parties 
respected the principles and provisions of international law only 
in so far as policy required. Policy imposed a respect for the rights 
of that most powerful neutral and potential belligerent, the United 
States. And the Germans being able to profess an unqualified 
allegiance to the principle of Freedom of the Seas and to the pro- 
visions of the Declaration of London had, at first, much the stronger 


On the outbreak of war the Americans asked the belligerents 
whether the Declaration of London would be observed, recom- 
mending that it should. For it was not formally binding, as the 
Powers, including the United States, had not deposited their 
ratifications. As to its moral obligation — it had been signed by 
all the principal Powers and had been proclaimed by Italy in its 
little war with Turkey (13th October, 1913). On the other hand, 
the British House of Lords had rejected the Naval Prize Bill which 
embodied many of its provisions, and that, too, with the full 
approval of British public opinion. The British Government 
accordingly replied that it would adopt these rules — 

" subject to certain modifications and additions which they judged 
indispensable to the efficient conduct of their naval operations," 

and their allies replied in similar terms. The German Government 
and its allies accepted the rules, provided they were applied by other 
belligerents. But as conditional and partial acceptance was contrary 


to Art. 65, the Americans declared (22nd October, 1914) that their 
neutrality would be regulated by — 

" the existing rules of international law and the Treaties of the United 
States, irrespective of the Declaration of London." 

And, as the United States had never accepted formally the Declara- 
tion of Paris, this left them to assert their rights as neutrals on the 
basis of their national policy rather than on that of international 

Much the same situation prevailed in respect to the Hague Con- 
ventions regulating Sea Warfare. These had none of them been 
ratified by all the signatories and were therefore binding on none. 
With the general result that the rules of international law had little, 
if any, effect in regulating or restraining the belligerents — though 
referred to by them with every respect in relations with neutrals. 
Similarly the Prize Courts recognized them in principle while only 
applying such provisions as suited their belligerent interests, (e.g. 
Sir S. Evans, The Mowe). 


As soon as it became evident that a " knock-out " on land was 
unattainable and that a war of exhaustion was inevitable, the attitude 
of America became all-important. The United States were not only 
an Armed Neutrality capable of decisive intervention ; they were 
also such a source of supply in manufactures and materials as made 
them a decisive factor, even without belligerency, in a war of exhaus- 
tion. Moreover the attitude of Americans would be decided by 
their own policy and predelictions. Their traditional policy was for 
Freedom of the Seas in opposition to British Sea Power ; while the 
political activity of the Germans and Irish made the Middle West 
and Eastern citizens as anti-British as had been the South in 1812. 
Wherefore the Germans would probably have been better advised 
if they had " refused " their sea-front and had left the Americans 
to fight for them their battle for Freedom of the Seas against the 
British blockade. But this the Germans could not do, because 
they had built a fleet which promised them a secondary cut-and-run 
command of the sea ; and this, again, had put them in the hands of 


naval extremists. Also because the rules of international law and 
the interests of American business allowed America to become a 
source of war supply to the Allies from which the Germans were 
excluded ; and the consequent inequity was intolerable to German 
public opinion. 

Germany therefore sought, with German thoroughness, a cut-and- 
run command of the sea. This the mine and submarine made more 
than ever effective for commerce destruction, but also more than 
ever offensive to neutral rights. One of these double-edged weapons 
they had already grasped as a measure of offensive defence in the 
first hours of the war. The non-ratification of the Hague Convention 
VIII and the reservations in its Articles 2 and 3 had left minelaying 
practically unregulated. But it had condemned floating mines 
in the open sea, and on the first day of war the minelayer Konigin 
Louise was sunk by the British in flagrante delicto of having strewn 
the High Seas with floating mines in anticipation of hostilities. Such 
minelaying was thereafter continued, even, it was alleged, by fishing 
boats under neutral flag ; and British warships and neutral merchant 
vessels were thereby sunk with loss of life. This enabled the British 
to proclaim (28th September, 1914) a zone in which neutral fishing 
boats would be suspect of minelaying — sunk if detected — and the 
crews shot if they resisted. The Dutch protested but without avail. 
The British then proclaimed (2nd Oct.) certain areas as dangerous 
for neutral navigation owing to mines ; and further proclaimed 
(3rd November) the whole North Sea as a military area in which 
neutral navigation must follow certain routes. Which was the 
beginning of the British cut-and-dried mine blockade as afterwards 
extended and established (May 1916 and January 1917), so as to bring 
under British control all seaborne commerce with northern Europe. 

This innovation of a blockade of " deviation " by means of mine- 
fields was thus in the first instance made possible by the inhumanity 
of German commerce destruction by floating mines. It was apolo- 
getically justified by the British as — 

" an exceptional measure appropriate to the novel conditions of the 
new naval warfare " 

and — 

" out of regard to the great interests entrusted to the British Navy, to 


the safety of peaceful commerce on the High Seas and to the maintenance, 
within the limits of international law of neutral trade." 

Thus although at first sight one might have supposed Great 
Britain and Germany had embarked on a war of reprisals that would 
respect no law of God or man in pursuing the destruction of their 
respective civilian populations and of any neutrals that got 
in the way, yet professedly they were both fighting for the 
Freedom of the Seas and of their native lands. 
"Libertas et natale solum. 
Fine words — I wonder where you stole 'em " : 
the Americans might well say. But after all with their respec- 
tive Ships of State in such dire peril British and Germans 
were perhaps entitled to hoist American colours merely as a 
ruse of war. 

Meantime the British were making full use of their right under the 
Declaration of London to add to the list of contraband so as to develop 
their commercial blockade. There were in all during the war fifteen 
proclamations for this purpose alone ; extending the list to two 
hundred and thirty items, until practically all principal importations 
to Germany were included. But in this first phase prior to the first 
submarine campaign there were only three proclamations extending 
the list to include — iron, copper, lead, rubber (29th October, 1914), 
and sulphur, glycerine — conditional (21st September), and absolute 
(23rd September). Foodstuffs, fuel, and fabrics could not as yet 
be touched. An Order in Council (20th August, 1914), tried to evade 
Arts. 33-35 of the Declaration so as to allow capture of conditional 
contraband in " continuous transport," but this the United States 
forced the British to withdraw (0. in C, 29th October, 1914) — a 
very considerable concession to neutral commerce. This, however, 
did little good to the Germans, who saw themselves cut off from 
American war supplies which were fully and freely open to their 
enemies. Nor had they any legal ground of complaint. They there- 
fore had recourse to cutting at the source of supply in America 
itself by instigating strikes and various forms of sabotage, a game 
at which their stalking-horse, the Austrian Ambassador, was caught 
out and sent home. This was an anticipation in an irregular " cut- 
and-run " form of the future British cut-and-dried blockade '- at 


source." And it had the disadvantage of all irregular raiding 
blockades, of being specially offensive to the neutral. 

Germany was by then mobilising not only its whole population 
but their whole productivity and property. The rationing system 
and the " Rathenau Plan " made further distinction between the 
military and civil destination of neutral shipments absurd. The 
British therefore made food contraband. The Germans thereupon 
proclaimed (February 1915) a war zone in the Narrow Seas in 
which all enemy shipping would be sunk at sight. 


This first submarine campaign was logical and legal. Logical 
because if the British were entitled and enabled to starve German 
women and children the Germans had the right to do the same if 
they could by British. Legal because the right of submarines to 
sink at sight under international law could be sustained without 
stretching any more points than had been strained by the British 
in making rubber and food contraband. But it was none the less a 
foolish and a futile move. Futile because British shipping had only 
to disguise itself as neutral. And foolish because it was especially 
obnoxious to Americans who had to use British shipping both for 
passage and freight. 

/The British did not retaliate in kind and no neutral ship was ever 
sunk by a British mine or submarine. There was no need for it and 
they knew a trick worth two of that. They let a test case go before 
the Court of public opinion. The Lusitania steaming at half-speed 
straight through the submarine cruising ground on the Irish coast 
was incontinently sunk (May 1915). Over a hundred Americans 
were drowned. The warnings given them before sailing, from 
German sources, and the way the matter was handled by the 
German Government and Press in no way mitigated the intense 
indignation of American opinion. After much correspondence the 
Germans were forced to renounce sinking at sight and therewith 
lose the " sanction " of commerce destruction as a reprisal, so far 
as the Narrow Seas were concerned. When three months later the 
Arabic was sunk and American lives lost, the German Government 
had to repudiate the submarine commander. Austria accepted 


responsibility for the sinking of the Ancona and had to comply 
with the conditions imposed on Germany. And the attack on the 
Sussex, a Channel packet, brought war with America so near that 
Germany had to accept and apply an even more stringent regulation 
of submarine war without getting any relaxation in return of the 
British blockade. In fact, one effect of the British blockade was so 
to irritate Germany into so irritating America that the British could 
continually screw the vice tighter. 


Says Mr. Churchill (The World Crisis, p. 296) : 

" The first German U-boat campaign gave us our greatest assistance. 
... It altered the whole position of our controversies with America. 
A great relief became immediately apparent." 

And Great Britain lost no time in taking advantage of the relief. 
The Reprisals Order (nth March, 1915) was in fact a blockade as 
irregular, though less immediately inhumane than that of the 
Germans. The material provision of it was Section 3 that allowed 
" deviation " to a British port of all neutral ships from or to all 
neutral ports carrying goods owned by or destined for the enemy. 
Such goods were not confiscated unless contraband, but were to be 
compensated or continued to their consignee as the Prize Court 
directed. The distinction between absolute and conditional contra- 
band, disappeared, continuous voyage was again taken into account 
and the burden of proof thrown on the neutral. (O. in C, 29th 
October, 1915.) American interests were further invaded by 
making cotton contraband (20th August, 1915), and a German effort 
to make an incident of this for propaganda purposes was defeated 
by using for the first seizure a French warship with the conciliating 
name of Lafayette. But in spite of that the strain on American 
patience was great. Thus Mr. Secretary Lane writes to Col. House 
(5th May, 1915) as follows : 

" You would be interested, I think, in hearing some of the discussion 
around the Cabinet table. There isn't a man in the Cabinet who has a 
drop of German blood in his veins, I guess. Two of us were born under 
the British flag. I have two cousins in the British Army* and. Mrs. Lajie 


has three. The most of us are Scotch in our ancestry, and yet each day 
that we meet we boil over somewhat, at the foolish manner in which 
England acts. Can it be that she is trying to take advantage of the war 
to hamper our trade ? . . ." (The Intimate Papers of Colonel House : 
Vol. I. Page 462.) 

One consequence of the irregularity of this blockade was that 
not only was Prize Law ignored but the Prize Court as an institution 
was superseded. British judges always have held, and continued 
during the Great War to hold, that the Prize Court administered the 
principles of Prize Law and that executive Orders in Council or even 
Acts of Parliament would not avail as against recognized rules of 
international law. Decisions as to the destiny of detained vessels 
and goods were accordingly settled out of Court by the Committee 
of Blockade set up at the Foreign Office. 

This proceeding, while it permitted a diplomatic elasticity in the 
decisions, deprived the whole blockade of the last shred of inter- 
national sanction. There was in fact a curious chassee-croisie in the 
functions of the Admiralty and the Foreign Office. For while the 
Admiralty, owing to its efficient intelligence system and the authority 
of armed force, usurped the functions of the Office in foreign affairs, 
the latter undertook the supervision of the blockade which had 
become the dominant feature in our relations with neutrals. We 
could have no better evidence of the profound effect on international 
relations of an attempt to impose an economic blockade under 
modern conditions of commerce. 

At first sight the British blockade would seem to be a pretty 
complete and quite coercive control of commerce between neutrals 
and the enemy. But the necessity of conciliating American interests 
was still imposing so much restraint, and the difficulty of proving 
the real destination under modern trading conditions was so great, 
that this first British deviation blockade was little more effective 
than the first German destruction blockade. Under it the American 
exports to Scandinavia and Holland trebled or quadrupled, whilst 
the exports from these neutrals to Germany were even more swollen 
with the addition of their home produce. (Misc., 1916, No. 15.) 
Huge shipments of foodstuffs were consigned to small tradesmen or 
even dock labourers in neutral ports. Yet only one in twenty of the 
ships deviated could even be sent before a prize court. The British 


Press clamoured for the proclamation and prosecution of a " real 
blockade " against Germany. Such formal and old-fashioned block- 
ades were as a matter of fact declared in African waters, in the 
iEgean and Adriatic ; but they would have been utterly useless 
in the North Sea. The British blockade, though it was not called a 
blockade, was already far more effective than a formal and legal 
blockade would have been. 

Consequently the conclusion suggested by the relations of the two 
belligerents with the United States in this first phase of the war is 
that neither the sea power with cut-and-dried command of the Sea, 
nor the sea power with a cut-and-run command can make so rigorous 
a deviation blockade in the first case, or so ruthless a destruction 
blockade in the second case as effectively to strangle and starve an 
enemy, so long as there is an armed neutrality with important 
interests involved whose intervention would win the war. And this 
conclusion is of importance for the argument hereinafter advanced 
that the future both of British belligerency and of British neutrality, 
of British Command of the Seas and of American Freedom of the 
Seas — of international sea law and of international world-warfare 
all depend on the establishment or not of an all-in Armed Neutrality. 


We now come to the second phase of the sea war — that in which 
belligerent necessity was the mother of further blockade inventions 
and in which German " f rightfulness " in the case of the Sussex, and 
in conspiracies within the borders of the United States, brought the 
American people into a phase of benevolent neutrality that permitted 
further screwing up of the blockade. For, by the autumn of 1916, 
America had been brought into a benevolent neutrality towards the 
British blockade that was comparable to that of Portugal at the 
outbreak of war, and was more than half-way towards belligerency. 

As the real difficulty between the British and American govern- 
ments was that of reconciling the requirements of a war of exhaus- 
tion with the rights of private neutrals to trade with the enemy under 
domestic and international law, the remedy obviously was for the 
belligerent public authority to substitute contractual arrangements 
with the private neutral interests for those customary rights which 


were no longer in line with the conditions of modern war. These 
contracts for mutual convenience were not concluded between the 
belligerent and neutral governments but between the blockading 
authorities and associations ad hoc of neutral traders. The belligerent 
Government could base such an interference with trade on no prin- 
ciple of international law, while the neutral government could enforce 
them by no provision of domestic law. The sanction under which 
they were established and the penalty under which they were 
enforced was an unrecognized but none the less rigorous blockade. 
These arrangements belong, in fact, juristically to the same class as 
the German notices not to embark in the Lusitania, or their notifi- 
cations to firms to stop shipping contraband on pain of strikes or 
sabotages. If the Americans accepted the one and were highly 
angered by the other, it is because public opinion is a sounder and 
a saner source and sanction for international law than historic 
precedent and juristic principle. 

These agreements were therefore not legitimate — they were not 
born of a holy matrimony between diplomats and jurists, solemnized 
in an international conference and registered in an international 
code. Like all living law and Topsy, they "just growed." They 
are none the less — indeed all the more — a most important innova- 
tion in international law. For international law is a common law, 
not a code, and it grows out of the stern tests of war, not out of 
juristic textbooks. 

A good detailed description of the forms and functionings of these 
agreements can be found in the British official statement (CD. 
8145 Misc. II. 1 91 6). They grew gradually in extent and effective- 
ness ; but at this period began to assume a primary importance. 
Very varied in character they fall broadly into three groups : (1) 
Agreements with neutral importers and consignees under deposit 
of a guarantee that the goods will not be passed on to the enemy. 
The first of these was made with the Netherlands Overseas Trust, 
an organization of neutral traders ; and others were later made 
with similar Trusts in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland. 
(2) Agreements with Shipping Companies not to carry " black " 
goods nor deliver them to " black-listed " consignees. Such ships 
then became " white ships " and were free from interference. (3) 
Arrangements such as the " Skinner Scheme " under which neutral 


supporters obtained a " Letter of Assurance " from the Contraband 
Committee in London, which would relieve Shipping Companies of 
risk in respect of such goods. Finally (4), a " rationing " of supplies 
for neutral States on a basis of their normal necessities. This last — 
which was a governmental action fundamentally/though not formally, 
as it was not the subject of diplomatic negotiation and acceptance — 
was the most effective and drastic of the lot. And when we find 
that the working of this system was supervised by an immense 
intelligence machine that checked and counter-checked it at every 
point, so that for a factory to be " black-listed " by the British was 
even more damaging to it than to be blown up by the Germans, 
we recognize a new form of blockade. 

" Blockade in the form in which it has been sanctioned in the past by 
international law has ceased to exist." (Sir E. Richards, Some Problems 
of the War," p. 10.) 

This new form of blockade at source has taken its place in all future 
wars of an all-in and all-out character. Sea power and air power 
will be important in future not as in themselves setting up the 
blockade, but as supplying the sanction for it. 


This transformation of a blockade from a cordon of warships to a 
system of contracts, in which the penalty, namely, deviation or 
destruction, is only the principal sanction, has greatly reduced the 
ancient advantage of the superior sea power in being able to assert 
a cut-and-dried command of the sea. Because, as the sanction for 
a blockade at source, a cut-and-run command is as good — nay 
better. Seeing that ruthless destruction of ship, cargo, and crew 
by a raiding submarine or aeroplane is more a deterrent than 
deviation to a port and prize court. And this conclusion is of import- 
ance to the argument hereafter advanced that we can renounce now 
without real loss our previous power of enforcing a cut-and-dried 
blockade at will. 

The extraordinary effectiveness under modern conditions of a 
cut-and-run blockade as a means of pressure had not escaped the 
Germans. A modern war that is fought by the whole people is lost 


by moral discomfitures and discontents quite as much as by material 
defeats. For achieving moral discomfiture economic blockade is 
now a far more deadly weapon than it was a century ago when, as 
Admiral Mahan tells us, it broke Napoleonism. Its defect is that 
unless carried out with modern weapons, such as submarines and 
aeroplanes and without moral restrictions, it is so cumbrous and 
costly that it pretty nearly broke us before, as its advocates assume 
it broke Kaiserism. In this winter of 1916-1917 Germany was 
having the best of it in the field but was certainly having a bad time 
in keeping the home fires burning. Germany was only drawing 
10 per cent, of her necessaries from overseas. But the food shortage 
was already so severe that only the docility and discipline of her 
people and the break-through into fresh overland supplies from 
Roumania and Russia saved the situation for another two years of 
war. And it seems likely that any continental State will similarly 
suceed in breaking the ring of economic blockade before being 
reduced by it to surrender. An island State like Great Britain runs 
greater risks from it. In this emergency Germany informed the 
United States (October 1916) that unrestricted submarine warfare 
would have to be renewed unless Great Britain made peace. This 
was followed up by a German peace " offensive " (December 1916). 
And it seems likely that the Germans were on this occasion using 
their " sanction " of cut-and-run command of the sea and commerce 
destruction, not so much to induce America to enforce the Freedom 
of the Seas as against the British blockade, but rather to induce 
America to mediate a negotiated peace. On their side the American 
government and the bulk of the people were still as anxious to remain 
at peace themselves as to restore it in Europe. President Wilson 
accordingly asked the belligerents to state their war aims. The 
Allies replied, frankly enough, that theirs were the defeat of 
Germany. The German reply was much less intransigent, but no 
more instructive. 

As mediation was impossible in these conditions, President 
Wilson tried to mobilize popular movements for peace by a proposal 
(Senate message, 22nd January, 1917) for a — " Peace League " 
under American auspices which should make and maintain " a 
peace without victory," on a basis of free peoples and free seas. He 
thus opened up what was the first and last opportunity of ending the 


war with a real peace. For America was still pacific and impartial ; 
besides being more powerful than ever as against war-wasted, 
war-wearied and war-weakened Europe. 


But unhappily for mankind, the British and Prussian war machines 
had by then taken charge. The German navalists interpreted the 
President's movements as the vacillation of a visionary ; and, long 
before they could have any effect on public opinion, unrestricted 
submarine warfare was resumed by proclamation (January 1917). 
American transatlantic traffic was to be restricted to one steamer a 
week painted all the colours of the rainbow for identification. 
Seeing the difficulty the British had had to reconcile flag-proud 
America little by little to their " white ships " and " black lists," we 
can understand how this German harlequinade was taken as an 
insult added to injury by the Americans. 


Moreover the British Admiralty had a shot in its locker which 
it now fired with deadly effect. The British had extended the 
Intelligence Service of their blockade to the ether — a curious 
development with which one of the authors of these pages was 
personally connected. The blockade did not at once cut off Germany 
from all uncensored and uncoded communication with the outside 
world by courier or cable. German commercial messages continued 
to pour over the British controlled and tapped cables for many 
months and provided useful evidence for the Prize Courts. But 
political and military instructions and information had to be sent 
by wireless and Britannia ruled the wireless waves. Their inter- 
ception proved of the utmost importance when Germany proceeded 
to use the upper air much as she used the under waters for ruthless 

Conspiracies of every sort in Asia, Africa, and America were 
concocted and conducted by wireless correspondence. This was, of 
course, concealed in the most scientific cyphers which concealed 
again the most scientific codes. Despising the intelligence of an 


enemy known to be normally uninterested in such intellectual 
exercises, the Germans filled the ether with their most secret schemes. 
But to be inexperienced is not necessarily to be inexpert, and the 
interception and interruption of this correspondence was an oppor- 
tunity for that intelligent improvisation that is a peculiar faculty 
of the British. 

The German wireless messages to the official and unofficial agents 
abroad were soon being read in Whitehall more quickly and correctly 
than in the Wilhelmstrasse. More than once the scratch staff of 
British amateurs followed with amusement the wireless wranglings 
of the German cypher experts trying to disentangle the knots in 
which some urgent message had got tied by their complicated 
devices — knots which the English had at once cut by the technical 
methods and machines they had invented d I'improviste. 

To these enjoyments the wireless blockaders added harrowing 
excitements. For example, a German wireless correspondence with 
the Secret Head of a great organization for raising a national revolt 
in Persia was unravelled daily until the outbreak was clearly immi- 
nent, when it disappeared behind an impenetrable cypher. Frantically 
the Whitehall eavesdropper worked day and night to reopen the 
keyhole. At last a happy guess based on a knowledge of German 
psychology and Persian geography disclosed the fresh cypher and 
the final plans. It was a matter of hours, but the counter mine was 
prepared and sprung in time. The chief conspirator, a well-known 
military attache^, shot himself, and Persia remained, " for the 
duration," an Anglo-Russian dependency. 

The same hard fate from the same hidden foe befell the Irish 
rebellion. It was the ether blockade not the water blockade that 
intercepted Casement's submarine and the Aude's cargo of arms. 
And so, too, with the Moroccan risings and the Indian conspiracies. 
While much that is obscure in the relations of the British govern- 
ment to the last phase of Tsarism would become obvious if the 
wireless blockade files of the German intrigues with the Tsarist 
ministers were published. 

This ether blockade had moreover its picturesque personal adven- 
tures. A diplomat fretting in a sinecure at Lisbon and repeatedly 
refused leave for active service, left incontinently in disgust at the 
secret treaties. Applying for a naval commission he was appointed by 


(Imperial War Museum photo. Copyright reserved.) 


the Admiralty one of the original organizers of this wireless 
blockade. His previous chiefs demanded his dismissal, for the tin 
gods are jealous gods. But England was by then indeed the " seat 
of Mars," and in 1915, what Mars wanted " went " in Olympus. 
So within a few weeks he was daily delivering to his former chief 
the secret correspondence of his former German colleagues. The 
sailors had certainly wiped the eye of the secretaries at their own 
job. For instead of helplessly reporting the conspiracies to take 
Portugal out of the war after they had come off, he now revealed 
them as they came on. As the skill and scope of the wireless block- 
ades increased, this scientific war of wits became as apparently 
miraculous in its feats, as it was certainly momentous in its results. 
For example, a series of numerals, daily extracted from the ether 
of Macedonia without further indication of their source or system, 
were disclosed as the instructions of the Bulgar General Staff, in 
Bulgar words, coded into casual number groups, these latter 
transformed by a cypher, which changed daily. And the expert 
who solved the series of riddles had absolutely no adventitious 
assistance — no " Rosetta stone " or clue of any sort. In fact 
only one form of cypher-code proved insoluble, and what 
that was the writer has no intention of divulging. Every Foreign 
Office will be confident it is theirs, probably to their own eventual 

But enough — perhaps too much — has been said on this subject 
in order to show in the first place that the British are capable of 
developing their blockade under stress of war into forms more scien- 
tific and zweckmdssig than a cordon of warships to catch cargo 
steamers ; and to prove, in the second place, that secret diplomacy 
will never be sound diplomacy. If it must be kept secret it is sure 
not to be sound ; and it is all the more unsound that it can't be kept 
secret. Which brings us back to the American situation, and one of 
the most conspicuous cases that prove this last maxim. For in the 
files of the wireless blockade was an intercepted official invitation 
from the German Foreign Office to Mexico to ally herself with 
Germany and " reconquer the lost territories of New Mexico, 
Texas, and Arizona." This was made known to the American 
public in the crisis of the resumption of unrestricted submarine 


The simultaneous and sinister stroke at the two pillars of American 
national policy — Freedom of the Seas and the Monroe doctrine — 
was decisive. America came into the war against Germany. And 
we have made this revelation not only because it is essential to our 
whole argument, but because we think that the credit of this great 
service to civilization should be ascribed now — where it belongs — 
to the Admiralty Intelligence Service and its amateur assistants. 
We pay this tribute to the efficiency of the Admiralty in this region 
of foreign relations all the more readily that we shall now have to 
say hard things of their inertia in their own special responsibility 
for the conduct of naval operations. 


America's entry into the world-war found the fortunes of the 
Western allies at their lowest ebb. On the Western land front the 
opposing armies had reached a deadlock of immobile trench warfare. 
The attempted allied break-through at the Dardanelles, in order to 
open up the Black Sea, had failed. The subsequent attempt at a 
flank attack from Salonica was futile. A Russian Fleet based on the 
Crimea controlled the Black Sea unchallenged, for the German battle- 
cruiser Goeben was too valuable to risk, and the small Turkish navy 
was mostly obsolete. But the whole of this vital sea area was denied 
to the Allies by Turkey's closing of the Straits. Munitions could not 
be imported into Russia through the southern ice-free ports ; nor 
could the urgently required Russian food and fuel supplies be 

But though deadlock appeared to have been reached on the 
Western land front and Eastern sea front, the position on the 
Eastern land front and Western sea front was far different. The 
Central Powers were breaking through the blockade on the East, 
over-running Russia and Roumania, and penetrating Central Asia. 
Their warships were breaking through the watch and ward in the 
North Sea and raiding British coast towns. Yet these alarums 
and excursions, though embarrassing, were unimportant in com- 
parison with the cut-and-run command of the narrow seas obtained 
by German submarines in the return to unrestricted commerce 



Owing to the assumed necessity for concealing the truth from the 
general public the full extent of the danger from the German sub- 
marines has never been fully realized. For, during the war, the 
public mind was fed only with poppy-cock and propaganda : while 
to-day the ordinary man in the street, and his wife, are so dismayed 
by the horrors of the war, so disillusioned as to its aims and so 
disappointed in its results, that they desire to hear no more of it. 
And as, to-morrow, we shall have a generation grown up that was 
in the nursery when the great struggle raged, that only remembers 
it as an interesting change in nursery diet, and that is already looking 
back on its romantic or spectacular side rather than on its filthiness 
and its failures, it would be as well to remind our fellow countrymen 
of the dire peril to which they were brought by relying on their own 
independent command of the sea under the new conditions of modern 
naval warfare. 

This is especially necessary at the present time when the post-war 
reaction to an ancient but antiquated " divine right " to " Command 
of the Seas " is causing the British governing class to revert to the 
national naval policy pursued during the previous three hundred 
years. These blue-blood and blue-water Bourbons, who have learnt 
nothing and forgotten nothing, assume that during the Great War 
the British Navy was strong enough to exercise sufficient Command 
of the Seas to enforce the British blockade and ensure British security 
and supplies. Whereas in real fact our security was impaired and our 
supplies imperilled by German cut-and-run raids and commerce 


Though the submarine had long been invented and successfully 
used, its real potentialities were unknown at the outbreak of war to 
any naval staff in the world. The use of the submarine against 
merchant shipping on a great scale had never been contemplated. 
The earlier German efforts were in the nature of experiments. Un- 
deterred by the risks to non-combatant and neutral persons and 


property, and undisturbed by any scruples as to experimenting on 
the merchant shipping of enemies and friends alike, the German 
Naval Staff eventually found in its hand a weapon of greater potency 
than all the Big Battalions and Big Berthas and other devilments 
of modern war. If the German Naval Staff had realized the offensive 
potentialities of their new weapon instead of relying on the defensive 
power of an outnumbered surface " Fleet in Being," and if the 
German High Command and Foreign Office had allowed the Naval 
Staff to concentrate from the beginning on the development of un- 
restricted submarine commerce destruction, supplying the necessary 
support and materials, Germany would have won the war either 
before it had provoked the United States to the point of entering it, 
or before the United States could bring their latent strength to bear. 

But the submarine was a new-fangled notion, as unpopular with 
the Sea Lords in Germany as in Great Britain. Only a few unheeded 
prophets, usually from amongst the younger naval officers, who 
argued from close day-to-day experience with this new weapon and 
were aided by the priceless asset of imagination, could challenge 
the service routine and the respect due to seniors and foresee what 
could be made of this weapon. 

The first revelation was the distance at which the original sub- 
marines built before the war could operate. Fortunately for us the 
Germans did not know this any more than the British did. Other- 
wise British naval superiority might well have been wiped out by 
one swoop on one of the many occasions during the opening weeks 
of the war when the whole Grand Fleet stopped engines at sea in 
clear daylight to receive and despatch private mail. The Grand 
Fleet, on which the whole success of the Allied Cause depended, 
might again and again have met the same fate, owing to the same 
failure in precaution, as did the flying squadron of armoured cruisers 
Cressy, Hope and Aboukir. 

As soon as this disquieting development was realized the channels 
of the inland sea of Scapa Flow in the Orkneys, where was the 
northern base of the Grand Fleet, were hurriedly blocked with the 
sunken hulls of valuable and afterwards invaluable merchant ships 
— the first indirect victims of the German submarines and of the 
British horse-marines. Thereafter the Grand Fleet only emerged 
on carefully policed and patrolled promenades that gave them 


a more spectacular but less spirited command of the North Sea 
than that of the German cruisers and submarines. 

Few had realized the possibilities of the submarine as a mine- 
layer until ships began to be sunk on the mine-fields laid by sub- 
marines. The tactical possibilities open to submarines mounting 
a gun for surface operations had not been dreamt of, until German 
U-boats had shot merchant ships and, in one case, an armed sloop- 
of-war, to pieces, and until a British submarine with a 6-inch gun 
on an improvised mounting, had bombarded Turkish railway bridges 
from the Sea of Marmora. 

The final revelation was the immense distances of open ocean over 
which a specially constructed submarine commerce destroyer or 
blockade runner could operate. For example, the Germans sent 
five submarines to American waters, which sank a minelayer, 
damaged a battleship and destroyed fifty merchant vesssls there. 
What may submarines not do in this way of blowing up stereotyped 
strategic ideas in unexpected regions during another naval war ? 


Great Britain and the Allies were thus early forced on to the 
defensive by the German submarine campaign and, what was worse, 
they were always a move behind. The initiative during the first 
two and a half years of the war was with the U-boats. Their whole 
campaign, indeed, was a surprise. And, if it was a surprise because 
it was never expected that the law of nations at sea would be broken 
in such a ruthless manner, there was some excuse for this lack of 
foresight. For, since sailing-ships replaced slave-galleys, a common 
feeling among sailors had created a common law for sea war with 
certain rough rules of humane conduct, respected by the seamen of 
all nations, men-of-warsmen and privateers alike. During all the 
wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries attacks on com- 
merce had been conducted under certain well-recognized restrictions 
— the principal of which was that the normal method of taking prize 
was to search and, if necessary, seize vessels ; then send them with 
prize crew or escort into a home port to be regularly tried before a 
Prize Court. If in exceptional circumstances a captured merchant 
vessel had to be destroyed, her crew, and especially her passengers, 


both recognized normally as non-combatants, had first to be removed 
to a place of safety. But owing to technical difficulties this proved 
to be impossible for a submarine, which can neither provide men for 
a prize crew nor room for captives. It was therefore too readily 
assumed by the Allies that submarines could not be used for com- 
merce destruction. But the mistake being due to over-reliance on 
others' respect for the regulations is not discreditable, and it is easy 
to be wise after the event. 

As for the neutrals, they could not have anticipated that no less 
than seventeen hundred neutral merchant vessels would be sunk 
during the course of the campaign by submarines and more than 
two thousand of their sailors drowned or killed by explosions. For 
in the history of naval war up to the twentieth century not a single 
instance occurred of a neutral ship being destroyed on the High Seas. 
There is no record of the destruction of a neutral ship at sea during 
the Crimean War, the American Civil War, the Franco-Prussian 
War, the Spanish- American War, or any of the minor wars of the 
last century. We have mentioned the first occasion of such an 
offence as occurring in the Russo-Japanese War. The German 
prize code itself contained stringent regulations against the destruc- 
tion even of enemy prizes before condemnation by a Prize Court, 
except on the ground of dire military necessity. Nor was Germany 
originally contemplating any such campaign of destruction against 
neutral commerce. As evidence of this we may note that at the 
beginning of the war Germany had only twenty-eight submarines, 
of which ten were modern and might be considered suitable for long 
sea voyages. 


The sufferings of the neutrals were indeed severe. Spain was, on 
the whole, friendly to Germany ; but by June 1917 one-seventh of 
the entire Spanish Mercantile Marine had been destroyed by German 
submarines. By August 1918 one-fifth of the Spanish Marine had 
been destroyed and more than one hundred Spanish sailors killed. 
In answer to repeated Spanish protests, the German Government 
offered safe conducts to selected Spanish ships ; on the condition 
that they were not engaged in any trade that might help the 


Allied cause. Whereupon the French Minister of Marine at once 
issued an order that any Spanish ship sailing under such a permit 
would be deemed as being in the service of Germany and liable to 

Little Denmark never threatened Germany, nor was capable of 
threatening her ; and until the new methods of blockade were im- 
posed on neutrals and the Danish imports were rationed under the 
modern interpretation of the doctrine of continuous voyage, the 
Danish ports were of immense value to Germany for the supply of 
many vital commodities. Yet by March 1918 the German sub- 
marines had sunk 216 Danish ships and killed 234 Danish sailors ; 
and many Danish ships were torpedoed while voyaging from Den- 
mark to the Danish dependency, Iceland, and therefore outside the 
war zone. 

Norway suffered most from this new cut-and-run control of the 
seas. At the outbreak of hostilities the Norwegian Mercantile 
Marine ranked third of any country of Europe, and fourth in the 
world. One-fifth of the population of this little country was depen- 
dent upon the shipping industry. By the end of the war Norway 
had lost 929 ships of a total tonnage of 1,240,000 and more than 
1000 Norwegian sailors had been killed. 

Two cases of what the new cut-and-run command of the sea may 
mean to neutrals will be cited. On 23rd June, 1918, a German 
submarine sunk in mid-ocean the Norwegian steamer Augvoldon. 
Sixteen of her crew were never seen again. The remainder were 
picked up after drifting about at sea in small lifeboats for eleven 
days, by which time they had been reduced to eating seaweed and 
their only drink was the rain-water they caught in their caps. In 
August 1918 a submarine destroyed the Norwegian barque Eglinton 
by gunfire without warning. The lifeboats in which the crew 
endeavoured to escape were fired on and only one man sur- 
vived. Ten years after the war the Germans agreed to pay 
6,600,000 gold marks (£330,000) as compensation for the loss of 
life and earning power of these 1000 Norwegian seamen — £350 per 
man ! 

Now let us take the case of Sweden. Not only were the Swedes 
not hostile to the German cause, but an immense trade was carried 
on between Sweden and Germany throughout the war, especially 


in foodstuffs and iron ore. For the British war vessels were unable 
to exercise effective control in the Baltic. But by September 1917 
120 Swedish ships had been sunk and 8 others captured or con- 
fiscated, a total of 12 per cent, of the entire Swedish Mercantile 
Marine. It would be as well if those who speak of neutrals 
profiteering by their trade during the late war remembered these 

The total losses of neutral merchant vessels by German sub- 
marines or mines are as follows (Garner, International Law and 
the World War, Vol. II, p. 278) : 


929 Denmark . . 172 

124 Holland . . 328 

83 United States . 20 


Total 1716 


Even so it must be remembered that the full effect of German 
control of the sea by " cut-and-run " tactics was not only impeded 
and postponed again and again by political difficulties, but was 
prejudiced right through the campaign by serious geographical 
disabilities. All Germany's overseas bases had been reduced or 
masked at the very beginning of the war. And the British Islands, 
lying like a great breakwater across the North Sea, commanded the 
only exits of Germany to the ocean. This geographical situation 
when fully exploited by mine-fields, as will be described later, 
placed Germany at a fatal disadvantage in a campaign of commerce 

In any future war neither Britain nor her ally of the late war, 
America, can count on similar advantages as against any eventual 
enemy. The menace of cruisers either relying upon their disguises, 
upon their speed, or upon their scouting aeroplanes, plus the menace 
of ocean-going submarines with immense powers of endurance operat- 
ing from overseas bases, plus the menace of aeroplanes and flying- 
boats with an ever-increasing range of action, will combine to make 
a massacre of merchant shipping, belligerent or neutral, far surpass- 
ing anything experienced in the years 1914-1918. Provided, of 


course, the military advantages of disregarding the old rules of 
blockade are held to outweigh the political disadvantages. 

The Germans also saw good reasons for respecting, at first, the 
regulations of sea law. For six months of 1915 they had held their 
hands for political reasons as already related, and it was not until 
October of the same year that Germany resumed active operations. 
The sinking of Allied and neutral ships promptly rose to 276,000 tons 
a month. As more submarines were placed in commission the figure 
of Allied and neutral losses of merchant tonnage increased steadily 
from 181 ships sunk in the month of January 1917, representing a 
total tonnage of 298,000 — to 259 vessels in February with a tonnage 
of 468,000, then to 325 ships in March with a tonnage of 500,000, 
and so to the record sinkings of April of 423 Allied and neutral 
merchant ships of a total tonnage of 849,000. And with that the 
Allied fortunes of war reached the low-water mark of their lowest 

By that time only six million tons of shipping was available for 
the whole of the trade and supplies of the United Kingdom. The 
remainder of Britain's merchant fleet of ships, the greatest in the 
world, had been commandeered as auxiliary cruisers, or were em- 
ployed as transports and on miscellaneous naval and military 
service, or had been sunk and damaged, or were carrying on essential 
trades in distant waters. The German Staff had reckoned that if 
British and neutral shipping could be sunk at the rate of 600,000 
tons a month Germany would win the war. Nor was this an 
illusion, like so many of the calculations of these all too logical 

Owing to the reduction of the available merchant shipping, Allied 
and neutral, the Germans — using at any one time only 30 submarines 
out of a total number of U-boats in active commission of only 140, 
when at their highest (October 1917) — more nearly reduced the Allies 
by sea than ever they did by land. Had any of their land offensives 
occupied Paris the war would have gone on. Could it have gone on 
if their sea offensive had invested London ? And these facts, 
though they may not be known to the general public, have not 
escaped the notice of naval experts all over the world. 

From first to last German submarines sank 11,153,506 tons of 
Allied merchant shipping and nearly paralysed the whole Allied 


war effort. They cost Great Britain 40 per cent, of her mercantile 
marine. The entry of America into the war that removed all diplo- 
matic restrictions from the British cut-and-dried blockade removed 
all humanitarian restraint from the German cut-and-run blockade. 
Nor was this submarine commerce destruction mere blind brutality. 
Once the neutrals were rationed, once the new methods of sea control 
by bunkering restrictions, black lists, permits, etc., had been put 
into force, every ton of merchant shipping sunk was a German 
bullet that found its billet. Though more recklessly inhuman the 
German blockade was no more ruthlessly inhumane than the 

" The important thing," says General Ludendorff, " was to sink 
as much shipping as possible " (War Memories, p. 223). For every 
ship sunk, enemy or neutral, was a direct loss to the Allied cause 
and weakened the advantage of the cut-and-dried command of the 
sea. No matter that the crews of German submarines perished in- 
evitably after a few voyages — 187 were lost altogether — and that 
the civilian crews of their victims perished even more inhumanly — 
many thousands in all. No attempt could be made to ensure the 
safety of passengers and peaceful merchant seamen ; nor was it 
attempted. Ships were sunk hundreds of miles from land in heavy 
weather and their passengers and crews, women, children, aged, 
sick, wounded, nurses, clergy, and other non-combatants, were left 
to take their chance in open boats. 

It may be said that these deeds can never be repeated. But the 
history of war shows that no new weapon that has proved its success 
can be permanently prohibited. Poison gas, the bombardment of 
unfortified towns, the dropping of bombs from the air on non- 
combatants, have all been prohibited from time to time by inter- 
national law. Not only were poison gas and aeroplane bombs used 
in the late war, but every Great Power to-day — with the exception 
of Germany, which is still in a penalised position — is preparing to 
use them again if required. 

That flower of chivalry, Bayard, in his day, gave a lead to the 
civilized conscience of his world by declaring firearms to be bar- 
barous weapons. The man who used gunpowder was to Bayard a 
criminal and beyond the pale. He allowed no quarter to be given 
to captured musketeers, though most chivalrous in his treatment 


of the armoured knights and bowmen who fell into his hands. But 
in a later age we find Shakespeare laughing at these scruples in his 
gallant who vowed — 

" That it was great pity, so it was, 
This villanous saltpetre should be digged 
From out the bowels of the innocent earth, 
Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed 
So cowardly ; — and but for these vile guns 
He would himself have been a soldier.'" 

Henry IV, Act i. sc. 3. 

War is war, and from age to age it gets worse and worse in its 
weapons. What should we have thought of an American for ex- 
ample if he had said that but for these vile aeroplanes or submarines 
he would himself have been a soldier ? Fortunately the Americans 
took a different view of their responsibilities to the human race. 
The inhumanity of submarine warfare brought them into the war — 
so that such crimes might the sooner cease. 


Every unbiased observer of the history of America's interven- 
tion will agree that America did not enter the war until its inter- 
national ideals were involved as deeply as its national interests. 
For by March 1917 thirteen American ships had been attacked by 
German submarines, of which twelve had been destroyed. Merchant 
ships sunk by mines brought the United States losses up to twenty 
before the date of intervention. 

If we compare this with Great Britain's experience during the 
Russo-Japanese war, already reviewed in Chapter I, we must con- 
clude that the British, if they had been suffering as neutrals to the 
extent the Americans were, would not so long have tolerated such 
nterference with their trade and traditions. Nor will the Americans 
when they have an independent command of the sea be so patient 
either of a British cut-and-dried blockade or of the " cut-and-run " 
blockade of a secondary naval power. 

President Wilson was able adequately to voice the view of the 
average American that he was going to war to make peace, and that 
the American army was to " police " Europe — first by beating the 


Central Powers and then by restoring the social order and the 
organization of civilization in Europe. For this high purpose 
Americans gave their men, their minds and their money generously 
to the war. And if the vile infection of war afterwards vitiated 
their idealist view and obscured their international vision by the 
usual vulgarities and vices of nationalism in war fever, this disease 
never affected the moral instinct of the people as a whole as 
drastically and deeply as it did the British — a people that had 
seen three more years of war and suffered thirty times greater 

By 1918, the American reinforcements were being safely trans- 
ported in thousands across the Atlantic by British sea-power 
through the submarine blockade. French ports and railways to 
the front were being converted into American, and became a land 
extension of the Anglo-American sea lines of communication. 

America had to entrust her sons by the hundred thousand to 
British transports protected by British warships against the in- 
sidious peril of the submarine. America had to entrust her war- 
ships to the strategic dispositions and the tactical disposal of British 

The British, on their side, had to make material sacrifices to 
secure these American reinforcements. During the year August 
1916-August 1917 the British had lost over three million tons of 
merchant shipping, and had to provide a similar amount for the 
sole use of their allies, thus leaving only 38 per cent, of their remain- 
ing tonnage for their own use. In order to ship and supply the 
half-million American troops transported to France, a million tons 
of imports into England had to be renounced. This meant that in 
1918 the imports of cereals were reduced by a third. Food Control 
was the contribution of the British public to the American campaign 
in France. But the British tightened their belts without a murmur. 
The Americans put themselves under the orders of the British 
without a moment's hesitation. So close was the confidence and 
co-operation between these two peoples in pursuit of their high 

That high purpose — the establishment of peace — is not yet 
achieved. Cannot the confidence and co-operation be in some 
measure restored ? 



There is a tendency to-day to measure America's contribution to 
the Allied cause by the military contribution to the Land front and 
the financial assistance to the Allies. This is erroneous. While not 
belittling in any way the effect of the American barrage of dollars 
and dough-boys it must be remembered that they did no more than 
close up gaps in the Allied Fronts, counterbalance the defection of 
Russia and compensate the diminution of British resources. The 
land fronts might have been held, with some serious withdrawals, 
even without the American reinforcements. But the sea front could 
not have been held indefinitely in the unequal war of surface shipping 
against submarines. If the submarine campaign had not been 
counteracted the Allies could not have forced a decision on land 
before the German blockade had, possibly decisively, reduced the 
British power of resistance. 

As it was, instead of Germany blockading Great Britain into 
defeat, the reinforcement of American sea power and the removal 
of American restrictions on the blockade enabled Great Britain to 
blockade Germany effectively for more than a year before American 
troops took their place on the land front. America threw herself 
into the gaps she had kept open in the blockade and closed them 
with an embargo and other belligerent measures. The world war 
was won by American sea power associating itself with British sea 
power. Peace for the world can be won in the same way. 


This association, close as it was, never became an " entangling 
alliance." Indeed, it was almost too informal and unformulated. 
Though it had been in prospect for some months no preliminary 
preparation for it was made. One of the present writers found that 
he had a part to play in such preparation. 

Mr. Lloyd George showed certain valuable qualities during the 
war. Not the least of these was his distrust of the expert advice of 
Admirals, Generals and other highly placed professional war-makers. 
The hold that Mr. Lloyd George still has on the hearts of his 


countrymen is due to their instinctive appreciation that the war 
might not have been won if the initiative of amateurs like him had 
not overcome the inertia of the military and naval authorities. The 
" Frocks ", so bitterly abused by professional soldiers of the type of 
Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, were the leaders of the New armies. 
And allied with these New army and navy men were the younger 
professional soldiers and sailors. 

Mr. Lloyd George took every opportunity of picking up " pointers" 
from any of these amateurs or their professional allies. Addressing 
himself to one of the younger British naval officers, whose sugges- 
tions and ideas for a more vigorous counter-offensive against the 
German submarines, fleet, and naval bases had rendered him 
thoroughly unpopular with the Board of Admiralty, he asked for 
some acid test that could be applied to the supposedly voluminous 
and carefully prepared plans for every possible contingency that he 
was told existed in the pigeon-holes of the British Admiralty. And 
this was not from any doubts of his own. For all the British pro- 
fessionals at the War Office seemed to be afraid that at the rate we 
were going the Admirals would lose the war before the Generals 

The amateur " Admiral " in reply suggested that the Prime 
Minister should as a test case call for the plans for the co-operation 
of the American Navy in the long-expected event of American inter- 
vention on the side of the Allies. 

None existed. 

Nor did the Board of Admiralty and the so-called War Staff, 
immersed in the day-to-day routine of the war, prepare any such 
plan until Mr. Lloyd George's probe had proved their non-existence. 
But thereafter, American intervention being imminent, a special 
division of the war staff was formed. A small group of the more 
rebellious of the sea-going critics were ensconced by day in bedrooms 
of the Admiralty that were being used at night by the Sea Lords 
for much-needed repose. This section was first named the " Offen- 
sive Division of Operations " ; and with America's entry into the 
war Admiral Sims' staff made contact with this new division. One 
of the junior colleagues of the chief American naval liaison officer 
was asked by the Washington Navy Department why it was called 
the " Offensive Division." He said the reason undoubtedly was 


that it was so offensive to the senior Admirals. When the latter 
had become reconciled, the Department came to be called the Plans 
Division, because its job was to make plans for the future, and also 
because it was hoped the German General Staff, when they heard 
of it in due course, would confuse it with the harmless hydro- 
geographical or chart-making section. 

The Plans Division differed from every other Department of the 
Admiralty in that it had no concern with immediate events. Its 
function was to think at least a month ahead and, if possible, six 
months or more ahead. And students of war will recognize in this 
little division the first beginnings of a real Naval General Staff on 
modern lines. 

The coming of the first few American officers to London instilled 
a new vitality into the naval campaign. Fresh minds, with new 
ideas and with a different outlook, were of far greater value than 
the reinforcing American battleships which, owing to new weapons 
and ways of naval warfare, never fired a gun in action. The Ameri- 
can Navy had watched the war from a revealing perspective and, 
as onlookers, had seen more of the game than those scuffling in the 
scrum. They showed great tact — but lost no time — in pointing 
out the proper moves. Furthermore, the brains of the American 
naval experts in the planning of a campaign were not measured by 
the gold lace round their caps. And it was far easier to suppress a 
valuable new idea voiced by a British Admiral than by an American 

An example may be useful. One of the most successful weapons 
used against the submarine was the depth charge. This is another 
form of the water-bomb, now at the disposal of the conquering aero- 
plane. Released from a swiftly moving surface vessel over the 
supposed position of a submerged U-boat it exploded at a certain 
depth ; and if it did not shake the submarine to pieces, certainly 
shattered the nerves of her crew. Consequently a destroyer con- 
voying merchant ships in the Western Channel, where the bulk of 
the sinkings took place, was really doing more vital work than a 
whole division of soldiers in Europe. But these swift little craft at 
first only carried four depth charges. They would escort important 
merchant ships three days out and then rendezvous with eastern- 
bound vessels from the United States and bring them in. If on the 


first or second of every six days at sea a submarine showed herself, 
the commander would hesitate to drop all his four depth charges 
and thus render himself comparatively helpless for the remainder 
of the expedition. 

The destroyer captains themselves suggested that the after 
torpedo-tubes should be removed and thirty or more depth charges 
carried instead, just as the mine-laying destroyers carried their 
mines. The Board of Admiralty, obsessed with the fixed idea of 
another battle-fleet action, and with the illusion that the destroyers 
in the Western Channel could be made available for a sea battle in 
the North Sea ; and oblivious to the fact that only twenty-four 
hours would be required to replace the extra depth charges with 
the original torpedo-tubes, officially rejected the plan. This set- 
back was made known to the first Americans to arrive in London. 
They immediately cabled Washington and an instant decision was 
taken to provide all the American destroyers preparing to reinforce 
the British destroyers in the Western Channel with extra depth 
charges as proposed. And they were thoughtful enough to telegraph 
this decision back to the Admiralty. The official decision of the 
British Board was reversed. 

The first contribution of this collaboration between British and 
Americans was the despatch of their destroyers to assist in convoy- 
ing ships in the Western approaches to the Channel. First based on 
Queenstown they came under the orders of the late Admiral Sir 
Lewis Bayly. Gradually increasing in numbers the American 
flotillas, working from Queenstown and Plymouth, fitted into their 
places in the naval British dispositions as if they had been part of 
the Royal Navy. At Gibraltar there were twice as many American 
men-of-war controlling the Western Mediterranean and its Atlantic 
approaches as British. 

At Gibraltar, at Queenstown and with the Grand Fleet, where an 
American battleship division formed an insurance against any 
possible risk in any future fleet action against the German High Sea 
Fleet, the Americans everywhere were under British command. 
Though the third Navy in the world and the second in the Allied 
cause, the American fleet assumed, voluntarily, a subordinate 
position, and acted under British orders with an absence of 
friction, jealousy, or any other kind of ill-feeling. What this means 


in war time can only be realized by those who suffered from less 
unselfish comrades, as who did not ; and the self-abnegation of the 
Americans will never be forgotten by all those who served with 

Throughout the remainder of the war the American and British 
seamen revived the spirit of the sea-captains whom Nelson called his 
Band of Brothers. Every American naval secret, all the American 
resources, mental and material, were placed unreservedly at the 
disposal of the British Admiralty. We on our part disclosed our 
most cherished technical inventions to the Americans. The con- 
fidence between the two navies was only equalled by their 

Further advantages to the sea campaign from America's inter- 
vention were scarcely less important. The United States harbours 
became available, not only for Allied warships, but for the assembly 
of the convoys. The American engineers produced, with great 
rapidity, immense quantities of efficient mines. 

In the great mine-field laid out between the Orkneys and the 
Norwegian coast, the American navy, showing a proper sailorly 
superiority to the out-of-date regulations of war of which it had 
lately been the defence, itself laid fifty-seven thousand moored 
mines. The British contribution was only thirteen thousand mines. 
And though this great mine-field, stretching across the North Sea, 
was scarcely completed before the Armistice, yet the preliminary 
sowings had a double effect. They undoubtedly made it more 
difficult for either submarines, swift destroyers and light cruisers, 
or disguised, heavily-armed raiders to escape from the German 
harbours into the Atlantic. And by rigidly restricting neutral 
merchant shipping to certain well-defined and narrow channels they 
made the control of the sea-routes to Germany absolute. 

From that time forward, no neutral merchant ship, even if she 
escaped bunker control, black lists, export restrictions and search 
in harbours could, without an Allied permit, hope to reach a port 
in a rationed neutral country. Which final denial of all neutral 
rights at sea was another contribution of America. And if America 
could thus throw overboard her whole traditional policy of Freedom 
of the Sea and her favourite formulae of sea law in order to prosecute 
peace by a belligerent alliance with Great Britain, is it too much to 



hope that America may now be willing to prosecute peace, in pursuit 
of her traditional policy, by an armed neutrality with Great Britain ? 
Allies in wartime usually quarrel during the campaign. The 
quarrels of these two allied peoples in arms only commenced long 
after it was over. Cannot these differences now be dispelled as a 
first step towards the peace both peoples desire ? For if Anglo- 
American association was a decisive factor in the war, in peace it 
would be an even more determining factor. 


On the immediate political and military results it is unnecessary 
to dilate in this book. But it is impossible to overestimate the 
effects of this complete control of all the seas of the world, outside 
the Baltic and the Black Sea, exercised by the British and American 
Navies in combination. 

The entry of America into the war could have restored the 
offensive at sea ; for, with a few notable exceptions, the British, 
French, and Italian Navies had been early thrown on the defensive. 
At the commencement, owing to a false conception of modern navy 
strategy, they had voluntarily adopted this role and maintained it 
till the end. The two exceptions were the daring raid on the German 
submarine bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend, and the determined 
offensive to force the Dardanelles by combined military and naval 
action. The late Admiral-of-the-Fleet Lord Fisher, when called 
to the Admiralty, had indeed set to work single-handed, as was his 
way, to plan a British naval offensive into the Baltic, which was to 
concentrate against points on the coast of Pomerania in combination 
with Russian troops. Unfortunately the Dardanelles campaign 
used up both the military resources and the naval reserves destined 
for this service in the Baltic. And when, consequently, Lord Fisher 
resigned, he took with him in his head his Baltic plans. His avenue 
of attack on Germany was never even explored. 

The allied action against the submarines was purely and passively 
defensive. It relied on makeshifts and sheer mass. The German 
submarine service absorbed some ten thousand men and some 
thirty submarines at sea at a time ; against which, by the end of the 
war, nearly four thousand surface vessels, great and small, from 


convoy cruisers to mine-sweepers and including old and new torpedo- 
boat destroyers, armed trawlers, yachts, motor-launches, fishing 
drifters, disguised and armed merchant vessels, known as " Q " 
ships, and the like — employing perhaps one million men, were 
engaged in passive defence. There were in addition the immobile 
defences — mine-fields, nets, shore batteries of cannon, booms on the 
rivers with electric apparatus — all of which required constant surface 

The convoys of merchant ships, escorted by armed vessels, the 
merchant vessels themselves defensively armed, the mine-layers, 
even the British submarines lying in wait submerged for a chance to 
fire a torpedo at an unsuspecting U-boat recharging her accum- 
ulators on the surface — all were forced into hated inactivity waiting 
for the blow to fall in order to deliver the counter-stroke. 

The Germans lost in all 187 submarines in action or by accident. 
Those lost in action were accounted for as follows : by mines and 
nets, 42 ; by depth charges, 35 ; by gunfire, 24 ; by submarines, 
20 ; by ramming 18 ; by air attacks, 7. From which it is evident 
that, even in the last war, the fleets and flotillas of surface shipping 
aided by systematic air scouting accounted for little more than did 
the submarines and mines. And when the tonnage and cost of 
the surface defence is compared with that of the mine, submarine, 
and aeroplane defence, its comparative ineffectiveness becomes 
glaringly apparent. 

Mine and net defence was considerably developed in the later 
phases of the war. For its passivity appealed to authorities who 
had by then lost most of their initiative and had never had much 
imagination. But its offensive defensive possibilities were never 
properly explored. 

With great skill and gallantry, under cover of darkness or in fog, 
hundreds of mines were laid in the Heligoland Bight itself in an 
attempt to prevent the Germans from putting to sea at all. But the 
suggested strategy of holding the mine-fields with surface ships in 
superior force and preventing the German mine-sweeper from clear- 
ing the way for the exit of the U-boat was never followed up. 

The great barrage across the Straits of Dover, lighted at night, 
and strongly patrolled was at the end effective. But even 
this was a passive defence. If one complete mine-field had 


been laid across the Heligoland Bight and another across the 
entrance to the Baltic, and both had been held by our superior force, 
surface and submarine, conditions of fighting similar to those of 
trench warfare on land would have resulted. There would have been 
heavy losses ; but the German surface warships would have been 
brought to action and the German submarine campaign brought to 

Nor were even the possibilities of novel surface craft fully 
explored. For example, small coastal motor-boats, their propellers 
driven by aeroplane engines, giving them a speed of forty miles an 
hour as they half rose out of the water, and able to launch and run 
torpedoes, were designed, built, and successfully experimented with. 
Their special purpose was to run over the sandbanks at the entrance 
to the Jade River at high water and attack and destroy the " Ready " 
squadron of the German Fleet lying there at its moorings. But 
they were never allowed to be used ; so, after some months, the 
Germans, getting wind of them, prevented the exploit for ever by 
driving stakes and sinking concrete blocks across the shallow water 
channels they had trustingly left open. 

Erskine Childers, executed as a rebel by the Irish Free State 
Government, was the heart and soul of this projected enterprise. 
He would have led it, for he had, before the war, sailed his cutter 
through the " Sands " and channels among the Frisian Isles, during 
the war had scouted them from aeroplanes, and had the answers to 
their riddles. Had he been allowed to strike this blow for the 
" Freedom of the Lesser Nations," including his beloved Ireland, 
his name would be on the roll of our national naval heroes. One of 
the present writers, knowing of these facts and of Childers' other 
services to a common Empire, had the honour of raising a solitary 
voice in the British Parliament in praise of a brave gentleman and 
in vain entreaty to his Government to claim his life from the firing 

Yet another novel idea for an offensive failed to penetrate the 
defences of authority. With the stimulus of Admiral Fisher's short 
regime at the Admiralty great steel and concrete towers were 
ordered. Floating and capable of being towed, they could, by the 
flooding of tanks, be sunk on sandbanks, leaving exposed a heavily 
armoured turret, with a powerful gun, and searchlights. The 


intention was to place these fixed forts at convenient spots in the 
Heligoland Bight, there to harass and annoy any ship leaving or 
entering the German naval ports. With their outlying pickets of 
submarines and supporting mine-fields, they could only have been 
reduced by a regular expedition ; which in turn would have brought 
on a destroyer, cruiser, and finally, a battleship action. But so 
inert became the strategy of the passive defence that their final 
destination was to reinforce, with electrical apparatus in their 
interior, the barrage across the English Channel in order to prevent 
destroyer raids from Zeebrugge or German submarines making the 
passage through the Straits of Dover. Fortunately the Armistice 
came in time to prevent an occupation of the Narrow Seas by these 
land fortresses that might have set up so many Maltas and Gibraltars 
in the Narrow Seas between England and France. 

Again, if use had been made of aircraft to bomb the shipyards 
where the German submarines were being built, the war would have 
been taken into the enemy's camp. Raids with landing parties on 
the hostile coasts, the disembarkation places defended by simul- 
taneously laid parallel mine-fields, would have kept all Germany 
" on the jump." These and many other " offensive " plans were 
considered, argued, shown to be realizable — and rejected. Only the 
Zeebrugge raid, planned in one of the " offensive " bedrooms referred 
to above, was carried through. The effect on the enemy was only 
equalled by the encouragement it gave to ourselves. But orthodox 
naval opinion was not reconciled to it by its sensational success and 
showed that it was not. One way it showed it was by all the more 
resolutely rejecting plans for similar exploits. 

There was some excuse for refusing such plans before the entry of 
America. But with American intervention the naval force available 
became so overwhelming that some risk might have been run and 
some opportunity of naval distinction offered to our American 
associates in order to shorten a war that by its very length was 
causing illimitable losses to ourselves and Europe. Losses from 
which the world is only now slowly and painfully recovering. 

To its credit it must be said that the American Higher Command 
was perfectly willing to play its part in the offensive operations 
which all the sailors of all the allied and associated navies were 
eager to undertake. But the over-cautious conduct of the naval 


war and the over-centralized control which hampered the use of the 
British Navy from the beginning of the war spread like a blight 
over all the sailors at sea. Not even American audacity and aggres- 
siveness could avail against it. Consequently so far as the sea war 
was concerned full advantage was not taken of the welcome addition 
of strength from America ; and no American man-of-war was able 
to fire a shot against an enemy other than a submarine. 


The last war was muddled through to victory. If it were the last 
war this would be a matter only of interest to the historian. But the 
continued expenditure on armaments by all the great nations of the 
world, other than Germany — which is fortunate in being forcibly 
disarmed by the Peace Treaty — makes it necessary that the lessons 
of the last war be learned by the man in the street as well as by the 
man in the study. For the street is going to be as unsafe as the 
study in the next war. And the trenches may be safer than street 
or study. 

What is, then, the lesson of this last war that we think should be 
learnt ? Just this. That as the weapons of naval warfare have 
changed so must we change the principles of our naval policy. 

The British doctrine of command of the seas by cruisers is a 
legacy from the days of sail. In the Napoleonic Continental Wars, 
before them, in the Colonial Wars against France, before them again, 
in the fight for command of the sea with Holland and Spain, the 
British pursued the same strategy as in the Great War — but in the 
Great War it failed to work. A cruiser fleet of sailing frigates, with 
command of the sea, could ensure the safety of the commerce of its 
nationals and of neutrals, and still respect the old rules of belligerency 
and neutrality. The opposing frigates and privateers, it is true, did 
what they could to interfere with the sea-borne trade ; but commerce 
and communications in sailing cargo ships could be successfully 
maintained, once command of the sea was secured. Because, as 
there were no mines, torpedoes, submarines or aeroplanes to prevent 
a close blockade of hostile ports, these ports could not only be closed 
up for mercantile purposes, but could be closed down as bases from 
which frigates and privateers could prosecute commerce destruction 


on the trade routes. Moreover the volume of sea-borne trade itself 
was far less and commerce raiders were restricted to cruises of about 
six weeks at sea by their water supply. 

In those days commerce destroying sailing frigates or privateers 
had only a few knots' excess of speed over the merchant ship. So 
a chase was a long business. Nightfall, thick weather, a slant of 
wind, often meant the escape of the quarry. Furthermore, the 
sailing ships driven by the winds and currents were scattered over 
the vast surface of the sea, and a raiding frigate or privateer operat- 
ing on the trade routes might not sight a prize during her whole 
cruise. Should she wish to make sure of a prize she would have to 
hover in certain narrow areas of the sea through which trade had to 
pass. Vessels crossing the great oceans were compelled to make 
certain land falls ; and here, or in those other areas known as the 
" nodal points," was where the commerce destroyers could expect to 
reap a harvest. Examples are the Straits of Dover and Gibraltar, 
the Skagerrack commanding the entrance to the Baltic, the Cape 
of Good Hope, the Horn, the " Soundings " in the western part of 
the English Channel, Cape St. Vincent, Cape San Roque in Brazil, 
Point de Galle in Ceylon, the Straits of Malacca, the Windward and 
other passages in the West Indies giving access to the Caribbean 
Sea, and so on. The British frigates, cruising in these waters, sup- 
ported where necessary by ships-of-the-line, could visit and search 
all merchant ships, capture the prizes to which they were entitled, 
and deny such areas of advantage to their opponents. 

But steam and other modern inventions greatly modified this 
state of affairs and submarines with aeroplanes have revolutionised 
it. Nowadays a merchant vessel sighted by a steam cruiser has no 
chance of escape unless succoured by a friendly warship. The 
average merchant vessel carrying the bulk of the trade to-day, has 
a sea speed of nine to twelve knots. The fastest liners at full speed 
can only cover twenty-five sea miles in an hour. The modern cruiser 
or destroyer has a speed of thirty to thirty-five knots. Moreover, the 
cruiser can now carry an aeroplane to scout at one hundred miles 
an hour and detect, detain or destroy merchant shipping, communi- 
cating with her mother ship by radio. At night the warship 
has powerful searchlights and its guns can engage with success 
at a range of seven miles. The old privateer, after slowly 


overhauling an intended prize, could only begin shooting at ranges 
up to a mile. ^ 

Furthermore, there was not very much difference in construction 
between a stout merchant ship and a frigate. Some of the sailing 
East Indiamen were so powerfully armed as to be enabled to stand 
up in open fight to a frigate ; and on occasions did so with success. 
No ordinary merchant ship can fly from or fight with even a small 
modern cruiser, for her thin plates and wooden superstructures are 
very vulnerable to gunfire, while her frames are so light that even 
the largest liner cannot carry a heavier gun than one of 6-inch 


At the beginning of the last war, Germany had four small cruisers, 
armed with 4-inch guns actually engaged in commerce destruction 
on the trade routes. The German China squadron under Admiral 
Count von Spee, consisting of two heavy cruisers and some lighter 
vessels, was kept together as a tactical unit and trade attack was 
for it only of secondary importance. But these four independent 
light cruisers sank two hundred thousand tons of British shipping 
and thirty thousand tons of allied shipping before they were accounted 
for. And they did this at a time when the British Navy List showed 
one hundred and thirty cruisers, other than the battle cruisers. 
There were also a number of Japanese, French and Russian cruisers 
available for the defence of trade. Not counting cruisers with the 
battle fleets, there were operating on the trade routes at the beginning 
of the war, or shortly afterwards, one hundred and four allied cruisers. 
At one time seventy warships were engaged in searching for the 
Emden alone, or patrolling certain areas where she might appear. 
As the war went on the disproportion between surface cut-and-dried 
defensive and cut-and-run offensive increased. A few British cruisers 
were lost in action or by submarine mines, but forty new ones were 
added to the British Fleet before the Armistice. Seventy-five large 
British passenger liners were commissioned as warships, armed and 
used as cruisers. This immense preponderance of naval force was 
all available to control the trade routes in order to deny their use 
to the enemy for his commerce and to prevent raids upon our own. 


With the clever trapping of the squadron under Admiral von 
Spee and the hunting down of the other German regular warships 
outside European waters, the Allies supposed that their troubles 
were at an end ; but they were soon disillusioned. The submarine 
war on commerce was not the only surprise 

Three German disguised cruisers escaped into the Atlantic, 
through gaps in the water and wireless blockade. They sank two 
hundred and fifty thousand tons of British shipping and thirty-nine 
thousand tons of Allied shipping. An even more astonishing and 
alarming feat was that all succeeded in returning to German ports. 
One of them, the Wolf, laid mines off Bombay and off Australian 
ports, in addition to acting as a commerce destroyer on the high 

As this method of attacking trade will certainly be used again 
until superseded by something more serious, it is worth while 
describing briefly the Wolf and her operations. She may be taken 
as the present-day successor of the privateer. The old-style privateer 
was a fast sailing ship, specially armed and equipped, and often a 
former merchant ship to whom letters of marque were issued by her 
Government. She was not a corsair originally, but a sort of special 
constable for sea police duties. Her operations were legal, and she 
was bound by the same rules of war as the regularly commissioned 
naval ships. The difference between the French privateer of the 
Napoleonic wars and the German commerce destroyer of the Great 
War was that the privateer cruised for profit and was commissioned 
as a business venture. 

The Wolf, and her sister ships, were, to outward appearance, 
peaceable neutral tramp steamers, but they carried hidden guns of 
heavy calibre which could be unmasked when required. The Wolf 
kept the seas for fifteen months, touching no port or inhabited shore. 
She cruised in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. During her 
operations she captured a Spanish steamer, the Ignotz Mendi, with a 
cargo of coal. She kept her as a collier, replenishing her own bunkers 
from the captured coal in sheltered waters among uninhabited islands 
or coral reefs ; and to her she transferred a number of the prisoners 
taken, keeping others on board herself. She endeavoured to bring 
this ship, with her unhappy captives, including the Spanish captain 
and crew, to Germany. Fortunately for the prisoners, the captured 


ship ran ashore at Skager in Denmark, during thick weather, almost 
within sight of Germany. The Danes interned the ship and her crew 
and released the prisoners. The Wolf herself returned to Kiel in 
safety. She carried a seaplane which she used to warn her of 
hostile war vessels and as a scout to find prizes. She sank directly 
seven steamships and seven sailing ships, as well as those blown up 
by her mines, and she spread general alarm and uneasiness all over 
the seas. She came out and went back again through a Narrow Sea 
closed with mines and cordoned with cruisers. 


How can it be maintained in view of all the above facts, and of the 
very favourable strategical conditions for the British blockade in the 
last war, that in a future war, even leaving submarines and aero- 
planes out of account, the seventy-one cruisers demanded by the 
British Admiralty at Geneva in 1927 as a minimum defence of British 
commerce, will in fact suffice against a Power disposing of an 
efficient Navy and naval bases ? For even these seventy-one cruisers 
would not all be available for the trade routes. Under the Washing- 
ton Agreement of 1921, sixteen capital ships are allowed to each 
of the Navies, American and British. For every three battleships 
five cruisers are needed and this ratio has been mutually agreed upon 
by the British, American, and Japanese naval staffs. It is certain 
to be the minimum the battle fleets will require. Just as Nelson 
called ever for more frigates and Jellicoe for more cruisers, so the cry 
for such craft will go up from the flag-officers commanding the battle 
fleets of to-morrow. 

This leaves forty-six cruisers for the defence of trade and the 
duty of controlling neutral commerce and capturing belligerent 
merchant ships. At least fifteen of these must be in harbour, in turn, 
all the time, resting, refitting, boiler cleaning, etc., in order to maintain 
efficiency. For guarding all the sea-borne trade of the British 
Empire there will be available thirty-one cruisers actually at sea. 
Is it supposed that they can hunt down even every Emden, to say 
nothing of a Wolf, with a scouting aeroplane, through all the North 
and South Altantic Oceans, the Pacific Oceans, the Mediterranean, 
and the Indian Oceans ? And their actual task will be far more 


difficult against a navy of even approximately equal powers and with 
less commerce than ourselves to protect. 

Furthermore, the cruisers of ten thousand net tonnage, as limited 
in size at Washington in 1921, and the six to seven thousand ton 
ships for which the British Admiralty pleaded at Geneva, will be all 
as useless against submarines as — well, as battleships, and as helpless 
against aircraft as butter-tubs. The present writers hope that their 
very brief excursion into naval strategy and naval history will 
suffice to satisfy their readers that technical changes in naval and 
aerial warfare have created a new balance of power between offensive 
and defensive and between commerce defence and commerce 
destruction, which requires a correspondingly complete revision of 
British naval policy. 


Such then were the naval campaigns and the novel weapons with 
which Germany nearly won the war. And any nation hard pressed 
in the future may be expected to use such weapons or even more 
frightful ones. The indiscriminate sowing of the high seas with 
fixed and floating mines, commerce destruction by unrestricted 
submarine warfare and by surface cruisers or commerce destroyers 
in disguise are already accepted evils. Improved modern ocean- 
going submarines will not only be armed with torpedoes but with 
12-inch guns, the primary weapon of many of the pre-war Dread- 
noughts, and with poison gas cylinders for use against coast towns or 
merchant ships. 

The greatest potency of the submarine is against merchant ship- 
ping. Is it to be supposed that they will never again be so used ? 
Those who believe it live in a fool's paradise. Already a scholarly 
defence of the German submarine campaign has been published in 
France, written by a brilliant French naval officer. The considerable 
fleets of submarines under construction, or in commission, in the 
British, American, Japanese and Italian Navies, speak for them- 
selves. The French Navy alone is constructing more submarines 
than Germany ever had under construction at any time before the 
war. France had on the stocks at the end of 1927 forty-three of 
these vessels, including several mine-layers and others of the 



long-distance cruising type for oceanic operations. In 1928 it is 
proposed to lay down for the French Navy one cruiser submarine, 
three mine-laying submarines, and twenty others. This is a terrific 

Since the end of the " war to end war " the five principal naval 
powers have between them built or commenced one hundred and 
eighty of these atrocious weapons. France alone has authorized the 
strengthening of the French Fleet by 91 submarines, not including 
the 1928 programme. The corresponding figures for Japan are 61, 
for Italy, 18. 

The United States have 30, not including the 32 large submarines 
proposed in the new programme at a cost stated, unofficially, of 
£30,000,000, but later dropped out. In 1927 the British Empire 
had building 9 submarines and 18 more were projected. The sub- 
marines actually built and ready for use in the five principal navies 
were at the end of 1927 : 

British Empire . 

• 55 


. • 58 


. 44 

United States 

• 3i 

Italy .... 

. 42 

Meanwhile we have been ploughing the sand of fruitless fuss and 
friction about the number of cruisers to be allowed to Great Britain 
and America and what their tonnage is to be and whether they should 
carry 8-inch or 6-inch guns. The ominous submarine construction 
of the maritime powers has not been brought to the notice of the 
general public for various reasons. There will be a rude awakening 
if ever the peace of the world is broken. 


And now to the menace of the submarine must be added the new 
danger of attack from t^e air. A few merchant ships were destroyed 
in the late war by the rudimentary aircraft then in use. Merchant 
ships at sea were attacked by Zeppelins. One was actually held up 
by a German dirigible, forced to surrender, and navigated into port 
by a prize crew supplied by the Zeppelin. This was near the German 
coasts where a local command of the sea could be exercised. 


The commandeered ex-German collier Franz Fischer was the 
first merchant ship sunk from the air. This was in the area most 
closely controlled by the British fleet and under the very muzzles 
of our guns. Flying the British flag, she was on a voyage from 
Hartlepool to Cowes on February 1st, 1916. Night having fallen 
the master was warned by a British patrol boat that an unswept 
mine field had been discovered ahead of him and he decided to 
anchor for the night, with other vessels, off the Kentish Knock. 
A German Zeppelin, on her way back from an airship raid on London, 
having reconnoitred the anchored vessels dropped one bomb in the 
sea alongside the steamer. Exploding under water, the incom- 
pressible fluid element acted as a great hammer driving in her hull. 
She was sunk, indeed, just as the Virginia and the Ostfriesland were 
sunk by water-bombs dropped from American aeroplanes in the 
famous experiments seven years later. She sank so rapidly that the 
crew had not even time to cut away a boat ; and of the sixteen 
sailors on board only three were picked up by a lifeboat sent by a 
friendly Belgian steamer anchored near. 

Torpedoes carried by British aeroplanes had sunk Turkish 
steamers, including a transport full of soldiers, in the Sea of Marmora 
in broad daylight during the Dardanelles operation. The bulk of 
the German Air Force was needed on the Western front, where the 
German military commanders still hoped for victory. But if 
sufficient aeroplanes had been available for use against merchant 
ships, even in the stage of development then reached, one more 
surprise could have been sprung by an altogether novel method of 
attacking sea-borne trade. 


With present improvements in aircraft we may expect, under 
similar circumstances, a ruthless campaign from the air against 
merchant vessels. The convoy system, which when developed in 
the later months of 1917 reduced the danger from submarines, would 
only increase the opportunities for air attack. Aeroplanes can 
act against merchant ships in only one way — by sinking at sight — 
until command of the air over the sea has been established. Once 
this has been done, merchant shipping could be ordered by aircraft 


to proceed into the ports of the belligerent for examination. And 
such a " cut-and-run " command of the air would be even more 
irresistible and inhumane in its effects than the " cut-and-run " 
command of the sea by submarines in the late war. 

In the Great War under-water warfare reached a fairly full, 
though by no means a final, form. But the other and more important 
form of three dimensional war — air warfare — only entered its first 
phase. Aircraft were only used for scouting and raiding, except in 
the few cases already mentioned. There was no attempt to set up 
an air blockade. But aircraft are undoubtedly the future weapons 
for destruction of commerce and demoralisation of the civilian 
population. And as aircraft are, in their operation, as unamenable 
to the old two dimensional international law as submarines, we 
can, from the experience of this last war, forecast at least the first 
phase of the next. 

The defence of the British cut-and-dried surface blockade against 
the German cut-and-run submarine blockade had, as we have shown, 
a certain measure of success, though we were clearly fighting a 
losing battle against a novel form of warfare. The defensive can only 
effectively and economically keep pace with new offensives when 
these are on the same plane, so to say, and are not revolutionary. 
In the case of aircraft the only defence in any future that can be 
foreseen will be a counter-offensive. And there is an accumulation 
of authority to the effect that counter-attack is at present, and long 
will be, the only defence in air war. Said Brigadier-General Groves, 
former Director of Air Operations (Royal Institute, 29th March, 
1927) : 

" No adequate means of protection against aircraft attack are yet in 
view . . . the only effective deterrent to aerial aggression is the threat 
of reprisals." 

Brigadier-General Lord Thompson, ex-Secretary for Air, says (Air 
Facts and Problems ) : 

" It is a misuse of words to speak of a bombing 'plane as a defensive 
weapon ... its use is chiefly for reprisals." 

Which is confirmed by experience in the war — as in the German 
attack at Whitsun, 1918, with thirty-three machines, of which only 


six were lost against a defence of a hundred British aeroplanes, 
four hundred searchlights, eight hundred guns, and about a division 
of troops. 

But a war of reprisals, as we know, means a war that respects 
nothing. And reprisals can now be made with aeroplanes travelling 
at three hundred miles per hour, undetectable by sound, carrying 
gas bombs that can depopulate London. The French to-day can 
drop in one raid a hundred and twenty tons of bombs, just about 
ten times the war maximum in weight, that weight being in 
explosives with ten times more destructive force. Major-General 
Seeley, ex-Secretary for Air, estimates the possible casualties, at 
present, as ten thousand daily. And though no doubt these experts 
are deliberately making our flesh creep, yet experience suggests 
that they do not exaggerate. The principal weapon to be used by 
a nation running " amok " in air war would be the water bomb 
and gliding bomb. And far lighter bombs would be sufficient against 
even the largest merchant ships or passenger liners in comparison 
with those needed against warships built to withstand such attacks 
or the explosions of torpedoes and shells. In addition aircraft can 
carry, and launch to run with great accuracy, the motive torpedo. 
They can drop highly incendiary bombs of small size and weight 
charged with such substances as thermite. 

We know that we survived the German submarine menace not so 
much by our resourcefulness as by our resources — not so much by 
our retaliations on the enemy as by our capacity for standing 
punishment ourselves. It was not our improvised defences of 
convoys, flotillas, " Q " ships, nets, air-scouts, etc., that saved us, 
but our reserves of tonnage. We had so much merchant tonnage 
and the Germans so few submarines that, deadly as the weapon 
was, it was not decisive in the time. But will the punishment that 
we should incur and inflict through air reprisals in another war to 
save civilization leave at the end any civilization to save ? The 
only Power that can save civilization from such a catastrophe is 
that of an Armed Neutrality guaranteeing a law of nations. As a 
leading advocate of air power says : 

" Vessels flying the flag of a powerful neutral State are unlikely to be 
attacked. The belligerent would be insane who bombed British or 
American ships, they being neutral." (Spaight: Aircraft in War, p. 331.) 


He would soon be a certificated lunatic, put where he could do 
no more homicides, if the British and American navies were an 
associated sea police. 


But aeroplanes have a still more nerve-shaking shot in their 
locker. For aeroplanes working in conjunction, can spread a wide 
area of sea with chemical smoke clouds. Brigadier-General Groves 
is responsible for the statement that it has been demonstrated by- 
experiments that a hundred modern aeroplanes in ten minutes 
can lay a smoke cloud ten miles square to lie on the surface of the 
water to a thickness of fifty to a hundred feet. And instead of 
smoke clouds they could lay a poison gas cloud of the same area 
and depth. A large convoy of, say, fifty merchant ships, with its 
escorting men-of-war, could thus be obliterated by simple suffoca- 
tion of the ships' crews. Just as the poison gas attack from the air 
will probably be the greatest menace against the civilian population 
on land in any future war, so merchant shipping at sea will probably 
suffer more than the war fleets. 

That the use of gas at sea on a large scale is no mere nightmare, 
is the opinion of both the British and American Naval Staffs. Very 
careful experiments have been carried out in the British and 
American Navies, and as effective steps as possible are being taken 
to minimize the gas danger for warships. Thus, in October 1927, 
extracts from the ship's newspaper of the U.S. battleship California 
found their way into the lay Press. The following selection from 
these extracts is self-explanatory : 

" Gas Mask Instruction: During our stay in the yard those men, 
at least, who have not previously been through it, will be given gas mask 
instruction at the gas chamber, which will be filled with a concentration 
of C.N. tear gas. 

" Gas warfare defense is being considered more and more seriously in 
the navy. While it has never before had a place in naval warfare, there 
is no doubt that in the ' next war ' chemical agents may be expected in 
the shells of big guns, in aircraft bombs and smoke clouds. Proper 
defense against them will be vitally necessary, more so than in the army. 
On land gas attacks do not and cannot last long. The worst they can do 










.is 1 







































is cause troops to move out of the infested area. If our floating fortress 
is permeated with poison fumes we can't very well move out. And there 
are gases, like mustard, which sprayed into a closed compartment in their 
natural liquid state will give off deadly fumes for weeks, months. 

" There are others of which one or two good whiffs will cause a man 
to forget he has a gas mask, and everything else from then on. 

" A perfect fitting mask is necessary, as is the ability to adjust it 
accurately and fast . The tear gas used for instruction is not poisonous, but 
a few seconds exposed to it without a mask will show that it can put a 
man out of action quite effectively. If you can't see you can't shoot ! " 

Such precautions and protective measures strike one at first 
sight as being even more inferior and ineffective to the terrific new 
weapon than were the makeshifts against the far less formidable 
submarine menace. For example, in the late war merchant ships 
were fitted with a defensive armament against submarines, and 
often fought off the enemy. It may be argued that they could 
also mount anti-aircraft guns. But anti-aircraft fire is inaccurate 
and uncertain at the best of times from fixed shore mountings, and 
is even more ineffective from the moving platform of a ship at sea. 
Such pea-shooting at mosquitoes looks even less practical when we 
remember that a modern aeroplane covers a mile in thirty seconds 
and that the shell from an anti-aircraft gun takes thirty seconds to 
reach twelve hundred feet, which is not an abnormal height in 
modern flying. So that between the time the gun is fired and the 
time when the shell reaches the point aimed at, the aeroplane can 
have moved a mile laterally or several hundred feet vertically ; 
while an aeroplane flying low down at modern speeds is a difficult 
target to lay on. On the other hand, the slow moving merchant 
ship with her unprotected crew is simply a " sitter " for the 
aeroplane's bombs and machine-guns. 

Again, the gun's crews on board ship can be blinded by smoke 
clouds or by the fumes of phosphorescent bombs before the main 
air attack. In a word, for a " cut-and-run " command of the sea, 
the aeroplane is so potent a weapon for commerce destruction that 
no sea law will avail to prohibit its use, and no surface vessel will 
avail to prevent or even impede it. The sea power wishing to win 
command of the sea for the defence of its own communications and 
the denial of its enemy's commerce must win and keep command 



of the air also. And any future European war will begin with a 
struggle for command of the air over sea routes. 


So much for European wars. In an Anglo-American war, which 
must be considered for the purposes of this book, aircraft, based on 
our insular possessions in the Western hemisphere, may well play 
as important a part. And if Canada, or the whole British Empire 
is involved, as is at least probable, Canada will become the cockpit 
of air fighting. Until the Americans occupied and controlled the 
whole of Canada and Newfoundland and all the West Indies, British 
aircraft in command of the air would be able to destroy many cities 
of the United States. Or, if the war is not reduced by process of 
reprisals to this abyss of atrocity, aircraft will be able to prevent 
the use of American ports on either seaboard or on the Great 
Lakes, and the despatch of military forces across the Caribbean 
or the Canadian frontier. 

It is sometimes assumed that air power and sea power are 
antagonistic. This is not so. They are complementary. And, for 
the present, surface vessels, submarines, and aeroplanes must 
co-operate in carrying out a new strategy and tactics in three 
dimensions instead of two, in a cube above and below the water- 
line instead of on a plane at it. Already command of the 
air will permit the stronger power to deny the air to an opponent's 
aircraft, to defend surface shipping from " cut-and-run " raids, to 
drive the enemy merchant marine from the seas, and to induce all 
but the most powerful of neutrals to enter into the special arrange- 
ments and contracts which will be the leading feature of any future 
economic " blockade." 

No nation, as yet, has acquired such supremacy in aircraft, or 
such superiority in their use, as to be able to claim command of the 
air. It may be that, just as, in the past, sea power redressed the 
balance of power on the land, so in the future air power may redress 
the balance of sea power — to the disadvantage of the stronger 
maritime nations. But if in a remoter period air power, with its 
threat of destruction to every centre of population and source of 
production, replaces sea power with its more limited threat to 


coastal cities and sea-borne commerce, that is all the more reason 
why the British and Americans to-day should get together in an 
agreed neutrality to preserve peace and provide an international 
police of national forces. 


It seems probable that if in the next war an early decision is not 
forced by air bombardment it will be sought by air blockade. This 
will mean a war of exhaustion in which the superior air power will 
make all productive activity, other possibly than simple agriculture, 
impossible in the enemy land. In such air warfare sea power and 
surface warships would scarcely count at all. For the present they 
may have a function as aircraft carriers and commerce protectors 
in the remoter seas. But the armoured ship-of-war is as obsolete 
to-day in reality as was the armoured horse man-of-war after the 
introduction of gunpowder. In the experiments carried out by the 
American Government it was demonstrated conclusively that air 
craft can in a few minutes sink or disable the most powerful war- 
ships, however well protected against ordinary attack by gunfire 
or torpedoes. 

Following the experiments in which submarines, battleships, and 
cruisers were successfully attacked by aircraft, Major-General 
Mason Patrick, recently in command of the American Army Air 
Corps, with a pretty irony, stated that — 

" The air service itself does not for a moment assume to say that battle- 
ships, or any other component parts of a naval establishment, are obsolete. 
We merely rest on the conclusions of the Joint Board that under proper 
conditions we can put out of commission or sink any naval craft which 

The Ostfriesland and the Virginia battleships were sunk in a few 
minutes by air bombs. And the American Joint Board reports 
(Art. 18) : 

" It will be difficult if not impossible to build any type of vessel of 
sufficient strength to withstand the destructive force obtainable with the 
largest bombs that aeroplanes now carry." 

Wherefore if the most scientifically constructed and heavily pro- 
tected super-dreadnoughts can be sunk by bombs launched by 


aeroplanes, obviously merchant ships can be far more easily 
destroyed. If, nevertheless, the British, and still more the 
Americans, continue to build these costly white elephants of surface 
warships, it must be for more obscure reasons of politics — of prestige 
— or of profit. 

In post-war naval discussions little attention has been given to 
the development of the strategic possibilities of air power as distinct 
from its tactical uses. Thus both in Washington and in Whitehall 
it seems to be taken for granted that a sufficient number of cruisers 
and other warships will ensure the safety of American or British 
sea-borne trade whether America and Britain are belligerents or 
neutrals. The British Admiralty in its propaganda repeats ad 
nauseam that a complete blockade of every British port for six 
weeks would reduce the country to starvation. 

Wherefore, the British Admiralty argues, parity is impossible 
with America unless America is prepared to build the kind of 
cruisers the British Admiralty thinks that it needs. Whereas the 
American Navy Department thinks no less strongly that it needs 
a different type of cruiser. And thus the peace between the two 
premier sea powers is imperilled by a technical difference of opinion 
as to a tactical weapon that is losing, or has lost, its military 
importance. For strategic thinkers of insight and imagination 
already see that air power will soon transfer the whole problem to 
under-water or overhead regions in which the old tactics on one 
plane no longer apply. 


In these tactical plans of naval experts on either side aircraft 
are only, as yet, considered as an adjunct of surface ships or of 
submarines. Naval strategists cannot, or dare not, think of air- 
craft as in any other capacity than that in which they were mainly 
used during the last war — namely, as scouts for surface warships. 
So both countries are involving themselves in an absurd competition 
as to the capacity and cruising radius of aircraft carriers, or of 
cruisers and battleships carrying aeroplanes. The largest of these 
aircraft carriers can carry perhaps eighty comparatively small 
seaplanes or aeroplanes fitted with floats. These, however, are only 


to be used for scouting at sea, or for torpedo attacks on opposing 
warships, for assisting the long range artillery fire and like purposes. 
Such aircraft carried in ships will, in fact, be tied down to fleet 
uses, which is the most expensive and least effective way of operating 
aircraft. The cheaper and more efficient way is to operate aeroplanes 
from the shore. And there is no such limit to the size of aircraft 
so employed as there is on aeroplanes operated from ships. 

In a future European war between mobilized maritime peoples, 
fighting " all out," aeroplanes flying and fighting from shore bases 
will be an untried, but none the less terrible, menace to a mercantile 
marine. In a future war of Continental States, or of nations with 
territory near the sea trade routes against Great Britain, such 
attack on the showing of the British Admiralty would be decisive 
unless, within six or eight weeks, command of the air has been won 
by Britain. 

On the other hand, if Great Britain had this command of the 
air, we would not only be secured against cut-and-run blockades 
by commerce destruction, but could impose a new cut-and-dried 
blockade by air. For the risk of being " deviated " to a British 
port under aircraft escort imposes such sanctions against neutral 
shipping that they would be forced to enter into the special agree- 
ments and contracts not to trade with the enemy that were such a 
feature of the irregular blockade of the late war. And this blockade 
at source under sanction of the risk of deviation and detention was 
in the last war, and will be in the next, the only blockade really 
effective against an enemy. 

Nothing but the extreme conservativism created by an excessive 
burden of responsibility can explain the dangerous indifference of 
naval and military authorities to this radical revolutionising of naval 
war by aircraft. For such experts are, of course, in possession of the 
striking evidence as to the potency and potentialities of aeroplanes 
in attacks on surface vessels. 


In thus considering the effect novel weapons of war will have on 
future warfare as foreshadowed by their effect in the Great War, 
we have to calculate also what prospect there is that, in sea warfare 


at least, these innovations will make possible a revision of sea law 
and a restriction of the more extreme expressions of sea warfare 
to exceptional emergencies in which every exercise of mediation and 
moderation has been in vain exhausted. 

The first difficulty in this is getting the expert to apply the lessons 
of experience and admit that these new weapons have passed the 
experimental stage. The Great War gives us illuminating indica- 
tions of what future cut-and-dried blockades and future cut-and-run 
blockades will be like under these new weapons. For though Great 
Britain and Germany both relied still on the use of surface vessels 
and their Admiralties were as conservative as such authorities 
usually are, yet the stress of war compelled the development of new 
weapons that entirely changed its character. 

The mine, the submarine, and the torpedo became the basic 
weapons for enforcing both the regular blockade by deviation and 
the irregular blockade by destruction. And the strategy of sea 
war was thereby extended from a warfare on a plane to warfare in 
a space. And the whole system of international law framed for 
warfare in two dimensions will have to be reconstituted to fit this 
new warfare in three dimensions. It is the same sort of revolution — 
as yet only dimly suspected by the public and only clearly seen by 
a few experts — that Einstein has introduced into the larger world 
of thought. 

It is obviously as hard for a naval strategist or an international 
jurist to make his mind work in three dimensions as it is for a 
geometrician or a mathematician to make his mind work in four. 
So they don't do it — until the storm and stress of war makes them. 
And the result is that those States in which sea power and its 
priests are politically potent tend to lag behind in preparedness. 
This has happened with every revolutionary change of weapon since 
the days when bows, the longbow and grey-goose shaft, were senti- 
mentally cried up as being the national naval weapon and when 
guns were condemned as inhuman and unsportsmanlike. 

And the same with our " wooden walls." The first iron steamer 
went from London to Paris in 1820 ; but the first ironclad was not 
launched until forty years later ; and meantime we had fought 
two wars at sea. In 1900, Mr. Arnold Forster, M.P., called attention 
to the building of submarines abroad, but without effect {Hansard 86, 


cols. 322-332). Five years later a Royal Commission, appointed in 
response to further agitation, reported "there was likely to be 
no material diminution in food supply during war." Yet ten 
years later submarine operations had so materially diminished 
British food supply that we were within a few weeks of extremity. 
" What we are facing is the defeat of Great Britain," then wrote 
Mr. Page. Nor is this unpreparedness peculiar to sea war. Sailors 
are less conservative than soldiers. The British still spend over a 
million annually on obviously obsolete weapons like cavalry. 
Aeroplanes, which are already replacing artillery, are still treated 
as scouts. Tanks, which are replacing infantry, are treated as horse 
artillery. We keep steadily a stage behind in all new weapons. 
Until war and the devil take the hindmost. 

In peace time the tendency of the professional soldier or sailor 
is to doubt the importance of the innovation and to dispute its 
implications. The more hard-shelled professionals will even join 
in with soft-hearted pacifists in arranging international prohibitions 
of the hated new-fangled weapons as inhuman. And though such 
prohibitions always have some " joker " in them that makes them 
innocuous, and some Haiti or Liberia can always make them in- 
operative by refusing to ratify, yet public opinion is misled into 
thinking the new weapon is outlawed and negligible. Thus this 
unholy alliance between professional " tough-minded " and pacifist 
" tender-minded " is doubly dangerous. It puts us behind in a 
military sense, and it puts us under obligations that may endanger 
our warfare if observed, and, if not, will certainly exacerbate that of 
our enemies. 

Such an obligation was the attempt to prohibit commercial 
blockade by mine-laying as pressed at the Hague Naval Conference 
(1907). It broke down because Germany, then the minor sea 
power and therefore the most in favour of new weapons, would 
not consent. And it was the use of this weapon by Germany 
that, as we have seen, started the war of reprisals and irregular 

The fourth International Congress on International Law at 
Monaco, in 1921, like the first Congress at Frankfurt in 1913, drew 
particular attention in its report to the absence of any provisions in 
international law for the regulation of the use of aircraft in time of 


war. The convention on aerial navigation which met in October 
1919, made no attempt to deal with this matter, and there is an 
absence of any rules applicable to all States as to liability for damage 
caused by airmen to private property. Aerial warfare at sea in the 
future will start, therefore, without even such restrictions as 
restricted — or rather did not restrict — the use of submarines against 
sea-borne commerce in the last war. And the next war will relapse 
as quickly into unrestricted reprisals, and the world will rattle even 
more swiftly into barbarism unless it is made known beforehand 
that the two most powerful nations in the world, the United States 
of America and the British Empire, are determined to prevent new 
barbarities at sea made possible by man's conquest of the upper air 
and the under-water. 


As matters now stand, therefore, there is no real restraint in 
international law, whether conventional or customary, on the 
operations of submarines or aeroplanes for commerce deviation or 
destruction. Which means that in a future war, as things are, our 
shipping and supplies will have to run the gauntlet, not only of mines 
and submarines, but also of aeroplanes. The only defence seems 
to be the use of convoy and escort by aeroplane carriers and anti- 
submarine surface craft. And neither our experiences of naval war 
nor our naval experts encourage us to think that the defence would 
be enough to secure such a measure of safety as would save us from 
the risk. While our enemy might be strong enough to impose 
restrictive agreements on our supplies. 

For the British Empire the problem indeed is insoluble if the 
British people under present naval conditions are to depend only 
on the old " wooden walls " translated into terms of steel. No 
surface ships, however costly, however we may crowd the seas 
with them, will again be a " sure shield and buckler " as in the good 
old days of the sailing man-of-war. 

We have no very great hopes that British professional and 
public opinion will recognize this revolution and revise their policy 
accordingly. We rely rather on American professional and public 


opinion to whom command of the sea with surface ships has not 
yet become a creed. It is interesting to-day to refer to the con- 
sidered conservativism of naval opinion in the critical years when 
a naval war with Germany was daily drawing nearer. At the 
beginning of these years of preparation some apprehension was voiced 
by the British Chamber of Shipping and other big business interests 
as to the security of sea-borne trade in the event of war. 

Accordingly there was set up in April 1903, the Royal Commission 
on the Supply of Food and Raw Material in time of War already 
referred to. It was manned by the best available naval and 
mercantile experts. Every assistance was given by the Admiralty 
and all available witnesses were closely examined. The report is 
too lengthy to quote in full ; but it will suffice to notice that the 
confident opinion expressed was that the attack on commerce would 
be more difficult than in the sailing-ship days and its defence easier ! 
For example, after referring to the regular arteries of trade at sea 
and the wide distribution of the ships carrying food and raw materials 
to the United Kingdom, the Commission found that — 

" these facts, especially when taken in conjunction with the power 
afforded by steam of following the routes according to the necessity of 
any given period, make the condition of the chief trade routes an 
extremely favourable one for successful defence." 

All possibility of effective blockade of the United Kingdom was 
dismissed. Dealing with the modern commerce raiders the Com- 
mission stated the following : 

" No doubt a considerable number of ships might be required to effect 
the actual capture of a single hostile commerce destroyer, so long at 
least as her coal lasted ; but it has been explained to us by Admiral Sir 
Cyprian Bridge that, if only one of our cruisers were in pursuit, it could 
be made too dangerous for a hostile cruiser to remain on or about a 
trade route. Obviously under these circumstances her freedom of 
action would be much hampered and the damage she would be able to 
inflict would be limited." 

Compare this expert opinion as to what would happen with what 
did happen in the cases, for example, of the Emden and of the 
disguised raiders Mbwe and Wolf. 

In answer to certain doubts expressed by a minority of members 
of this Commission the Admiralty published a special memorandum, 


in which they stated that, while it was impossible to guarantee that 
no captures of British merchant ships would be made by an active 
enemy, the Board believed there would be no material diminution 
in the supplies reaching the United Kingdom ; and, be it noted, 
what was then in contemplation was a war between the British, 
Empire single-handed and Germany single-handed. 

At the time the Commission was reporting in 1905 the submarine 
boat was at much the same stage of its development as is the aero- 
plane to-day. The Report consequently, when it came to a dis- 
cussion of the new weapons," was mainly concerned with the 
possibility of torpedo-boats and destroyers being used for commerce 
destruction. After describing the limitations of such craft, very 
similar to those of submarines, as, for example, the inability to spare 
prize crews or to accommodate prisoners, the Commission reported 
their opinion as follows : 

" If, therefore, such craft are employed against commerce, for which 
they were never intended, they could only compel merchant ships to 
follow them into port under threat of being torpedoed. Moreover these 
craft can only operate within a comparatively short distance of their 
shore bases." 

Yet, as a matter of fact, it was these small craft that largely carried 
out the patrol duties of the British deviation-blockade in the Great 
War. Which means that in 1905 British expert authority, while 
preparing for naval war, overlooked the blockade uses of destroyers 
and small surface craft. Ten years later, while actually prosecuting 
naval war, they overlooked the blockade uses of submarines. 
To-day, ten years later, they are overlooking the blockade uses of 

It is conceivable that the largest ocean-going types of submarines 
could act as cruisers in accordance with the laws of nations and 
humanity, even if command of the sea was still being disputed in 
certain areas. And in one or two cases they did so act in the last 
war. As soon as command has been won the stronger Navy will 
not require to use submarines for commerce " deviation " and the 
weaker will only be able to use them as Germany used them for 
commerce destruction. 

But it is useless to expect that aeroplanes and seaplanes of the 
modern swift fighting type could examine merchant ships before 


destroying them or provide for the safety of their passengers and 
crews ; and no attempt appears to have been made either at the 
Washington Conference of 1921 or the Geneva Conference of 
1927 to draw up rules for the use of aircraft at sea in regulation 
of, or attack on, commerce, while it would be extremely rash to 
suppose that they will not be so used should the opportunity 

Moreover, modern aircraft are comparatively cheap. The largest 
flying boats yet constructed for the defence of the British Empire 
only cost £17,000 each and are capable of very long flights. They 
can fire at merchant ships with their machine-guns or torpedoes and 
drive in the sides of their hulls under water with time-bombs. 
Modern inventions in the air have made the attack on merchant 
shipping so much easier and its defence so much more difficult 
that it is hard to see how any one nation can hope to achieve such 
supremacy in the; sea and the air as can be called a Command 
of the Seas. 

Command of the sea means the nearly complete defence of sea 
commerce and communications for allies and neutrals and a nearly 
complete denial of them to the enemy. Such a command of the sea 
ensures final victory, and Great Britain can only in the future 
exercise such command, whether of the sea or the air, in association 
with, or by the approval of, the United States. The British Navy 
by itself cannot ensure the safety of British commerce against sub- 
marines and aeroplanes either with seventy or with seven hundred 
cruisers. America and Great Britain could secure supremacy so far 
as surface vessels can now secure it. 

But if the British cannot by themselves keep Command of the 
Seas, Americans cannot of themselves get Freedom of the Seas. 
The British will, as a secondary naval power, be able to challenge 
American supremacy in the Eastern Atlantic, in the Mediterranean, 
in the Indian Ocean and even in the Western and Southern Pacific. 
Whereas together the two Navies can ensure such freedom for the 
nationals of both and for those of all other States, whether the British 
Navy is supported by the other members of the League of Nations 
or not. Failing such American association the new Freedom of the 
Seas will be to seek. Wherefore if neither the British nor American 
peoples alone and apart can expect to be able in the future, by the 


old cut-and-dried command of the seas, to ensure their own com- 
merce, what sense is there in their adhering to the now obsolete 
weapon of blockade ? 


There is in Whitehall, in Westminster and in Pall Mall still an 
influential Round Table of " blue water " Bayards who are ready 
to risk the heart of our Empire being bled white and its backbone 
broken by the engines of modern war, in the hope that we may 
again be able to bash the head of our private enemy with the battle- 
axe of an old-fashioned blockade. The power of interrupting the 
commerce of a private enemy is still regarded by Blue Water Bucca- 
neers as a valuable asset in international affairs. They quote the 
successful stranglehold of the British Fleet on Napoleonism, and 
affect to believe that British naval action alone defeated Kaiser ism. 
In arguments on the Committee of Imperial Defence, in Parliament, 
in the Press and on the public platform, and before the Cabinet, these 
professors emeritus of the good old blue water school claim the in- 
dispensability of an " invincible " British Fleet. But they with 
professional obtuseness ignore, on the one hand the coming of the 
submarine and aeroplane, and on the other hand the Covenant of 
the League of Nations. Their case is that a war may still be waged 
in a vacuum between the British Empire and some other belligerent. 

Thus Admiral-of-the-Fleet Lord Wester Wemyss, formerly First 
Sea Lord, in a Debate in the House of Peers, initiated by himself, 
used these exact arguments (Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, 
Vol. LXIX, No. 69, 10th November, 1927). He advocated, with a 
missionary fervour, the renunciation of all restrictions on the saving 
grace of surface sea power, including the Declaration of Paris. He 
argued, quite correctly, that during the last war we had had to 
depart from them all. And he demanded that we should announce 
to the world our intention in the event of war of using our naval 
power to the utmost for the capture of an enemy's property where- 
soever found and for the cutting off of all his sea-borne trade. 
Viscount Haldane, ex-Minister of War and ex-Lord Chancellor, with 
full knowledge of the inner working of the Committee of Imperial 
Defence, of the will of the Admiralty and of British " authority " 


in general, admitted in the same debate that Lord Wester Wemyss 
was undoubetedly speaking for the Admiralty. Which, indeed, is 
common knowledge. 

Now let us suppose, only for the sake of the argument, a war 
between England and France. All the resources of the Council of 
the League of Nations are used in vain, both nations refuse the 
award of arbitration, neither is adjudged an aggressor, and civiliza- 
tion stands aside with hands folded while these two Great Powers, 
after the statutory delay of three months under the Covenant, 
proceed to ruin and raid each other in a so-called private war. We 
have only taken France as an example that will not be misunder- 
stood, as the relations between France and Great Britain suggest at 
present no such risk. 

This would be the same kind of war that was contemplated 
between England and Germany in the years before 1914. For while 
both British and German dispositions and plans contemplated a war 
between two groups of allies, they also considered the case of a duel 
between England and Germany, no other nation intervening. 
Indeed, at one period of the pre-war naval competition a not incon- 
siderable body of opinion in Britain held that it would be in our 
highest interests, and, of course, in the interests of humanity, 
civilization and justice, if a descent were made upon Germany 
before that Navy had received the proposed accessions of strength. 

We will leave aside the fact that such a war between England and 
France would probably be decided in the air ; and we will not con- 
sider the kind of " cut-and-run " command of the sea and the air 
that France would attempt to win by means of aeroplanes, sub- 
marines, mines, cruisers and commerce destroyers. Though it is to 
be noted that the French Colonies are numerous, well distributed, 
dispose of strong land armaments, and that they provide admirable 
cruiser bases for the support of commerce raiders on the surface, 
below it, and in the air above. We will only examine the probable 
workings of the British blockade on France. 

It is true that, with the command of the sea which we may antici- 
pate in these circumstances for the British Navy, the French 
Mercantile Marine would disappear for the time being. French com- 
munications with the Colonies would be cut off. But France might 
lose every one of these Colonies and still remain undefeated. The 


theory of the ancient mariners of the blue water school is that the 
stranglehold of the British blockade would make France surrender 
within a measurable time, through the cutting off of French com- 
merce and of colonial resources in materials and man-power. And 
they cite the defeat of Napoleonism by the British Navy and claim, 
correctly enough, that the cutting off of maritime trade from France 
in those days did inflict a very real injury. But this was because the 
carriage of goods overland was at that time tedious and expensive. 
Whereas in these days Europe has a network of overland communi- 
cations — the railway system is highly developed — the canal system, 
with the power-hauled or driven barges, is efficient — and excellent 
motor roads exist all over the Continent which carry an immense 
goods traffic by motor lorry and an immense passenger traffic by 
motor-car. It would therefore be impossible to prevent goods 
reaching France from Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and 
Spain, almost as cheaply as before. 

If to prevent this trade we strained the doctrine of continuous 
voyage to the utmost, we should have to interfere with the commerce 
of all these countries to an intolerable extent. Indeed, if France 
was prudent enough not to use submarines, aeroplanes and other 
raiders against sea-borne commerce and was careful of neutral 
interests, a British blockade would be either quite ineffective as a 
means of economic pressure, or only too effective as a means of 
raising an armed neutrality against us — or even additional enemies. 

Supposing that an old-fashioned close blockade of the French 
Atlantic, Channel and Mediterranean ports was practically possible — 
which it is not. Then American vessels attempting to enter such 
ports or to leave them would be stopped, searched, seized and taken 
into British harbours for adjudication by the British Prize Court, 
there to be tried and condemned, ships and cargoes being confiscated. 
By the Law of Nations American merchants and shipowners so 
mulcted would have no just grounds of complaint. But, provided 
there were no greater grounds of complaint against inconvenience 
and loss inflicted on them by French submarines, aeroplanes or 
cruisers, what would be the American attitude ? 

The same difficulties would arise for Britain were Germany or 
Italy or any other great European Power her adversary. Russia, 
which at present is our most probable private enemy, cannot be 


mortally or even seriously injured by a blockade, as very recent 
history has proved. 

The only other major country against which it could be effectively 
employed would be Japan. And for this purpose there would be 
needed a far stronger Navy than the British Empire can possibly 
afford for some generations to come. Even Singapore and Hong 
Kong could scarcely serve as bases for a close blockade of the 
Japanese archipelago. And only a close blockade, which is im- 
practicable in face of the submarine and the aeroplane, would 
prevent Japan from treating with, and drawing on the resources of, 
China, Korea, and Asiatic Russia. 

Private war may be abolished — but there is no doubt that " close 
blockade " is as obsolete as the " wooden walls " with which it was 
built up. It could only be considered as a practical possibility in a 
secondary war confined to naval operations ; and even in such a war 
it would cost more than it would be worth. 

The Blue Water Buccaneers also confuse the case by claiming that 
it was the British blockade that defeated Kaiserism. No legal 
blockade was ever established against Germany, not even after the 
entry of America into the war. The entirely novel methods of 
applying blockade pressure to Germany were undertaken not 
under the rules of blockade but under the Reprisals Orders in 

Between 4th August, 1914, and 1st March, 1915, neutral ships 
could, in theory, visit German ports with non-contraband goods. 
Except by way of reprisals, justified by German breaches of the 
law of nations and of humanity, there was no legal means of stopping 
goods coming from Germany or of non-contraband goods from 
going in. 

In practice what was done, as we have seen, was to extend the 
contraband list to cover nearly all articles of commerce. Even so, 
99 per cent, of this contraband, conditional or absolute, was captured 
as being in " continuous transport," that is to say while in transit 
to neutral ports on the supposition that it was to be transferred 
overland to Germany. Moreover, under the first Reprisals Order in 
Council all goods of enemy origin, destination, or ownership became 
liable to seizure. This was an exceptional measure of retaliation 
outside ordinary naval law which could not have been put into 


force legally, at any rate, had it not been for the prior infringements 
by Germany. 

In the kind of private war in vacuum that we are considering and 
the possibility of which is the main argument for retaining our 
remaining rights at sea, we shall either have to establish a legal 
blockade, very difficult in view of modern developments of weapons 
of war ; or under the Declaration of Paris of 1856 we must rely on 
capturing goods going to our enemy in neutral ships as contraband. 
And we can only indefinitely extend the contraband lists with the 
goodwill of the neutrals concerned ; which means that their 
sympathy must be with us. 

Under modern conditions it will be important to stop the export 
of enemy goods to neutral countries overseas. For the successful 
export of such goods will support the enemy's credit in foreign 
countries with which he can purchase supplies, carry on propaganda 
and the like. An example in the late war will be of service. 

In the early part of 1916 the British Government, under the 
Reprisals Orders, began seizing securities and scrip of enemy origin 
found in the mails carried in neutral ships, mostly consigned by 
Dutch bankers in Holland to banks in the United States or South 
America. We had seized nearly a million pounds' worth of such 
sinews of war before the Germans, hearing of our action, stopped 
the traffic altogether. This established a new precedent in naval 
warfare, but one such precedent does not make international law. 
Such goods could only be seized in the event of a legal blockade 
being established with a neutral benevolence amounting to un- 
neutral service or at the risk of making a neutral belligerent. 


There would seem to be only two ways of dealing with the diffi- 
culties of blockade to-day, using the word as a generic term. The 
first is to regard blockade in the future not as applying to a line of 
enemy coast, but as a blockade of trade routes and lines of com- 
munication by sea and land alike. This will require a complete 
revision of international law, which can only be effected with the 
co-operation of natural neutrals like the United States and will be 
dealt with in the following chapter. 




8 1 

I* 8 



The second is to give notice to the world, as the gallant Admiral 
proposed in the House of Lords, and many other gallant admirals 
have proposed elsewhere, that we intend no longer to be bound by 
the Declaration of Paris but to revert to our old original practice of 
seizing enemy goods in wartime wherever found. 

The Declaration of Paris may or may not be " international law " 
and inviolable. It is usually assumed that it is ; and it has been 
generally respected until the Great War. The point is, however, 
are we prepared and are we in a position to denounce it now, except 
in agreement with the other principal sea powers. Would these sea 
powers, and especially America, allow us to return to the methods 
of exercising sea power practised by us a hundred years ago in 
entirely different circumstances and in a world in which our 
command of the sea was absolute ? British Governments can 
be very reactionary. But it is difficult to imagine the most 
reactionary Government behaving so rashly and romantically as 

The British will, as things go and as we shall later show, be on a 
parity in surface sea power with the Americans in about five years, 
and will then have lost the power they have hitherto held of im- 
posing a private " cut-and-dried " surface blockade as against any 
probable combinations of belligerents and neutrals. This power was 
the real purpose of the British two-power and three-power standards 
before the war. After the war the destruction of the German war 
fleet left them supreme in this sense until the advent of American 
sea power. 

But what about the new three-dimensional warfare with sub- 
marine and aeroplane ? The rival of the British here is not America 
but France. There is no strategic object in building submarines 
against France for commerce destruction. What about aircraft ? 
We can of course outbuild France in the air. It would cost com- 
paratively little and we are the wealthier country. But if we did 
we should not thereby get such a command of the air as we have 
hitherto had of the sea surface. Our air command could never be 
converted into a cut-and-dried blockade of communications and 
commerce with France. An air war between British and French 
would be a war of cut-and-run raids on either side, destructive not 
only of commerce but of all civilization, 



Are we prepared to face these facts ? If so, then we are at once 
confronted by this conclusion : that so far from it being in our 
interest to return to a private right of blockade as it was previous 
to the Declaration of Paris, it is no longer in our interest as a 
belligerent to resist a further restriction of the present private right 
of blockade — and it never was and is less than ever now in our 
interest as a neutral to resist such further restriction. We have seen 
how the unrestricted right of cut-and-run blockade by submarines 
nearly cost us the victory in the last war. We have suggested that 
a similar right of aeroplanes may cost us the next war. We have 
shown how the attempts hitherto made to restrict these new 
weapons by international authority and agreement have been worse 
than useless. We have submitted on good authority of experts and 
of experience that the only effective restraint on these weapons 
is the fear of reprisals by the belligerent or the fear of retaliation by 
neutrals. Which all brings us to the question whether this fear of 
retaliation and reprisal can be so organized as to save the British 
Empire from the risk of defeat and European civilization from the 
risk of destruction in the next war. If it can, then it will certainly 
be worth while for us British to surrender in return our unrestricted 
right of blockade, as we have already surrendered the unrestricted 
right of building battleships on which blockade once was based. 
And just as that step was taken in association with America, so 
must the next step be taken by a new agreement between the 
United States and the United Kingdom. 


IN this chapter we have to consider how a settlement of the 
Law of the Sea came to be omitted from the peace terms, 
though it was included in the War aims of both the American 
and Germans. 
The situation towards the end of the War was thus described by a 
Norwegian neutral (Michael H. Lie : " Freedom of the Seas," 
Recueil de Rapports, Vol. 2, page 175) : 

" In the present economic war blockade plays by far the most important 
part. The extremity on both sides has led to a system of arrangements — 
declarations of blockades without directly debarring certain coasts, 
special war zones and mines in the High Seas — all outside international 
law. The blockade is moreover principally directed against neutral 
commerce. The principles of international law have become uncertain. 
It would be useless to claim in the coming peace negotiations that the 
great maritime powers should desist from the right of commercial 
blockade. . . . One might as well propose the abolition of naval warfare." 

It is interesting to observe that had America taken sides with 
Germany against the British supremacy at sea there would have 
been a peace which would have provided a new sea law based on 
Freedom of the Seas under an international regime and regulation. 
As it was, American public opinion and policy became concentrated 
on aiding the British to establish a complete command of the seas. 
While German policy and public opinion changed its ground and 
lost its grip on the situation as the tide of war set against it. 


The Freedom of the Seas was for Germany a mere war slogan, 
like our " Liberties of the Lesser Nations." There is nothing to show 
that they meant anything more than that they were fighting the 



British sea power, that had given us a long start in commercial 
competition before the war and that was strangling and starving 
them in the conflict itself. 

Before the Great War Germany's policy as to Freedom of the 
Seas was ambiguous. She claimed that she was building a fleet to 
ensure Freedom of the Seas as against British Command of the Seas ; 
but what were the principles and procedures held to constitute. 
Freedom of the Seas was left undefined. And when opportunities 
for such definition offered, as at the Hague in 1907, the German 
Government was no more liberal in its attitude than the British. 
It was due to the German Government that the abolition of contra- 
band, and even the immunity of private property at sea, found no 
place in the Declaration of London. And the absence of any real 
German naval policy in this respect was reflected in the disagree- 
ment of their doctors. Some German jurists preached immunity of 
private property (Maurer, Schucking, Weyberg) — some the status 
quo (Triepel, Stiersomlo) — some unrestricted sea war (Niemayer, 
Perols) . 

The German claim to be contending for Freedom of the Seas was, 
before the war, little more than camouflage for the navalism of which 
the Kaiser made himself the " loud speaker." " The trident must 
be in our hands " — " Our future lies on the water " — were not 
principles of a new international sea law. And this attitude of 
self-help and self-sufficiency continued into the war. Reventlow 
(18th February, 1916) called for "A Freedom of the Seas founded 
on steel not on paper." Ballin repeated his slogan — " Come out of 
the wet Triangle." 

But as the war went on it became clear that the escapades of the 
German Fleet in cut-and-run raids and commerce destruction, and its 
still more surprising evasion of destruction in pitched battle, were 
not going to affect the main issue. Gradually the German policy 
became one of a Freedom of the Seas sanctioned by international 
agreement rather than by national armaments. It was this phase 
that was given some international authority by the Pope in his 
peace message (1st August, 1917), which made an appeal for the 
recognition of the principle of Freedom of the Seas. But this did the 
principle little good ; for the peace movements were not prepared 
to accept the Pope's arbitration, and the War propagandists could 


denounce it as a German " Peace Trap." At last, with German 
defeat in the field, came the final phase in which Freedom of the 
Seas was exploited as a means of evading peace penalties. In the 
German draft of the Constitution for a League of Nations drawn 
up by Erzberger we find Freedom of the Seas secured by a new sea 
law including neutralization of Narrow Seas, immunity of private 
property, transfer of the right of economic blockade to the League, 
and most-favoured-nation navigation treaties for all members. A 
similar definition was given by the Foreign Minister, Count Brock- 
dorf-Rantzau at Weimar (14th February, 1919) ; and, as the menace 
of penalties grew more imminent, Freedom of the Seas was extended 
to include an international regime for regulation of commerce, 
colonies, and communications (Dernburg, Erzberger, Maurer). By 
that time " the Devil a Saint would be." But by that time, also the 
allies were assuring one another " Courage, mon ami, le diable est 
mort " — and were busy partitioning Hell. 


Nor was there any much clearer or more combined opinion among 
European neutrals as to the regime of Freedom of the Seas and its 
relation to the post-war reconstruction of international relations. 
There was little more than a vague '* Vceu pieux." And the first 
form in which Continental proposals for a peace league took shape 
was that of an " Armed Neutrality." The complete suppression or 
suspension of the rights of neutrals in international law by the 
continuation of the blockade of the belligerents on either side, 
naturally suggested that the proper remedy was an association of 
geographic neutrals like the Scandinavian States, or " guaranteed " 
neutrals like Belgium and Switzerland to which the other powers 
would accede after the peace. This association would then introduce 
a new system of international law and impose " sanctions " for its 

We find this idea well formulated even before the war by Barclay 
(Institut de Droit International, 1904, page 35) : 

" La neutrality n'est plus une solution passive. Les interSts des neutres 
sont aujourd'hui les interets de la majority, par consequent les plus 


puissants. Le temps viendra et peut-etre bientdt, ou les neutres se 
coaliseront contre les belligerents et cerneront les deux partis par un 
cordon sanitaire comme on enraie les pestes et les incendies." 1 

During the war it was developed by neutrals (for example Bornhak, 
" Wandel des Volkerrechts," 1916, and Burckhardt, " Recht der 
Neutralem," Pol. Jahrbuch, 6th, 1915 ; Nippold, " Das Volkerrecht 
im Krieg," Pol. Jahrbuch, 1914). Also by the less nationally minded 
publicists of the belligerents. Thus Lammasch (" Beruf der Neu- 
tralen," Int. Rundschau, June 1915) : 

" Wenn die Staaten, die, die ernste Absicht haben, sich in kunftigen 
Kriegen neutral zu halten sich zu einem standigen Bunde zusammen 
schliessen, wenn sie gemeinsam ihre Vermittlung anbieten und ebenso 
gemeinsam jene Konsequenzen der Ablehnung ihres Anerbietens androhen, 
wurde dieser Bund eine Macht reprasentieren auf deren Gegnerschaft es 
selbst die Machtigsten nicht gerne ankommen liessen." 2 

It was such a collective guarantee of neutrals as to their own respon- 
sibilities and rights that was in principle the origin of the League of 
Nations. Such armed neutrality, even though not formally expressed 
in an association, is still in fact the real guarantee of the post-war 
League, as it was the real guarantee of the pre-war International 

It would be easy to trace the development of this idea of an armed 
neutrality into the Peace League, but it is only dwelt on here for a 
double and a special purpose. In the first place, to bring back 
the mind of the reader to the real basis of the League, underlying 
the tangle of technicalities as to sanctions and security pacts. In 
the second place, to show the point to which we must return in order 
to get together British and American public opinion for the real 
move towards naval disarmament and peace. 

1 "Neutrality is no longer a passive solution. The interests of neutrals are 
to-day the interests of the majority, and therefore of the most powerful. The 
time will come, perhaps soon, when neutrals will coalesce against belligerents 
and will enclose both parties with a sanitary cordon as one checks plagues and 

* "If the States that really intend to remain neutral in future wars would 
associate in a permanent alliance, if they would jointly offer their mediation and as 
jointly threaten the consequences that would follow a refusal of that offer, then 
their alliance would represent a Power that the strongest Power would not willingly 



As for the British, their reactions to peace terms, including Free- 
dom of the Seas, were no more than a reflection of the American 
pressure. And American pressure against British blockade was at 
first not unaffected by German representations. In one of its notes 
to the American Government Germany demanded — 

" definite rules and safeguards, limitations of armaments, and Freedom 
of the High Seas." 

The Austrian Government demanded that the Seas be " freed from 
paramountcy." These appeals were not without effect at first as is 
evident from the American note to the British Government (21st 
July, 1915), which observed ominously that " Germany and our- 
selves are both contending for Freedom of the Seas." While 
a note to Germany of the same date declared that the United 
States would stand for Freedom of the Seas, no matter which side 
attacked it, without compromising and at any cost. This incipient 
German-American association for Freedom of the Seas produced so 
profound an effect on our Foreign Office, as it well might, that in 
spite of the growing indignation in America, caused by German 
submarine warfare, we find Sir Edward Grey (15th November, 
1915, Pall Mall Gazette), accepting the immunity of private property 
at sea as a possible peace term. The acceptance of Freedom of the 
Seas as a matter for the peace settlement was, however, obviously 
due to the American attitude and was bound to be annulled should 
America abandon neutrality. 

This remarkable change in the policy of the British had been thus 
brought about. In the Spring of 1915, Colonel House, unofficially 
representing President Wilson, was in Europe exploring the 
military and political situation to find some means of ending the 
War by American mediation. The struggle had not then become an 
embittered War of exhaustion and it looked as though a basis could 
be found. The British and French Governments demanded the 
evacuation of occupied territories, including Belgium. The Germans 
demanded territorial compensations for war costs and for future 


We shall quote the Colonel's own account of his action in his letter 
to the President from Berlin on March 27th, 1915 (The Intimate 
Papers of Colonel House, Vol. I, p. 414) : 

" It occurred to me to-day to suggest to the Chancellor that, through 
the good offices of the United States, England might be brought to 
concede at the final settlement the Freedom of the Seas, and to the 
extent I have indicated to you. I told him that the United States would be 
justified in bringing pressure upon England in this direction, for our 
people had a common interest with Germany in that question. 

" He, like the others I have talked to, was surprised when I told him 
the idea was to go far beyond the Declaration of Paris or the proposed 
Declaration of London. I said that someone would have to throw across 
the chasm the first thread, so that the bridge might have its beginning, 
and that I knew of no suggestion that was better fitted for that purpose 
than this : That if England would consent, this Government (the German) 
could say to the people that Belgium was no longer needed as a base for 
German naval activity, since England was being brought to terms." 

In his preliminary conversations with the British prior to his visit 
to Berlin (10th February, 1915), Colonel House had found Sir Edward 
Grey and Sir William Tyrell (Permanent head of the Foreign Office), 
not unfavourable to Freedom of the Seas. 

" Sir Edward . . . thought Great Britain would be willing to agree 
that all merchant shipping of whatever nature, belligerent or neutral, 
would be immune." 

The following day Sir William Tyrell stated that : 

" Great Britain recognised that the submarine had changed the status 
of maritime warfare, and in the future Great Britain would be better 
protected by such a policy (absolute freedom of merchantmen of all 
nations to sail the seas in time of war unmolested) than she has been in 
the past by maintaining an overwhelming navy." (ibid., page 376.) 

Unfortunately the Germans with their usual stupidity, instead 
of waiting until peace was in prospect, published at once a declara- 
tion in the terms of the Colonel's conversation. So, of course, when 
he returned to London he found that British suspicions were aroused 
and the Freedom of the Seas was being regarded as a German peace- 
trap. When Colonel House talked to Lord Bryce about it (22nd 
May, 1915), the latter — 

" did not seem in favour of it, saying he had heard that Dernburg very 
much desired it. I replied that I was the instigator of it in Germany. 


and the Germans were merely echoing the thought I had given them. 
He laughed and said he felt better, for, if we were doing it, he was quite 
sure it was not a bad thing, and that in the future he would look at it 
with more friendly eyes." (ibid., page 467.) 

We accordingly find Freedom of the Seas relegated from being the 
avenue of approach to an immediate peace to being an accessory 
advantage to be gained in an ultimate peace. Thus Sir Edward Grey 
writes to Colonel House (10th August, 1915) : 

" The pearl of great price, if it can be found, would be some League of 
Nations that could be relied on to insist that disputes between any two 
nations must be settled by the arbitration, mediation, or conference of 
others. International Law has hitherto had no sanction. The lesson of 
this war is that the Powers must bind themselves to give it a sanction. 
If that can be secured, freedom of the seas and many other things will 
become easy. But it is not a fair proposition that there should be a 
guarantee of the freedom of the seas while Germany claims to recognize 
no law but her own on land, and to have the right to make war at 
will. . . ." (ibid. Vol. II, p. 87.) 

If this conversion of the British when in extremis to Freedom of 
the Seas was proved later to have been diplomatic, there is no 
reason to believe that the German conformity was any less a death- 
bed conversion. Or, that if they had dictated peace, they would 
have done any more for reforming and restoring a Law of the Seas 
than we did. Their doctrine of Freedom of the Seas was in fact not 
international in its inspiration, but national, and based on the hope 
of a balance of sea power. 


But what really matters was not what Freedom of the Seas 
meant to Germany when already beaten, nor even what it meant to 
Great Britain when already blinded to her best interests by victory, 
but what it meant to an America that was bound by her ideals and 
her interests to force peace on the world — and to force it first on the 
Germans, and then, if necessary, on British and French. Taking 
President Wilson as the spokesman of American public opinion we 
find him first combining the American idea of Freedom of the Seas 
and the ideal of a Peace League in an address to the American League 
to enforce Peace (27th May, 1916). He there advocates — 


" an universal association of the nations to maintain the inviolate 
security of the Highway of the Seas for the common and unhindered 
use of all the nations of the world and to prevent any war, etc." 

At this time the United States were still rigidly neutral. Said 
President Wilson in the same speech: "We are in no sense or 
degree parties to the present quarrel." He was therefore basing 
this League on the only firm footing on which America can associate 
in European affairs — the Sea. Later, just before entering the war, 
he built further on this basic idea in an address to the Senate (22nd 
January, 1917). He then wrote : 

" The paths of the sea must alike in law and in fact be free. The Freedom 
of the Seas is the sine qua non of peace, equality and co-operation. No 
doubt a somewhat radical reconsideration of many of the rules of 
international practice hitherto thought to be established may be necessary 
in order to make the seas indeed free and common in practically all 
circumstances for the use of mankind, but the motive for such changes 
is convincing and compelling. There can be no trust or intimacy between 
the peoples of the world without them. The free, constant, unthreatened 
intercourse of nations is an essential part of the process of peace and of 
development. It need not be difficult either to define or to secure the 
freedom of the seas if the Governments of the world sincerely desire to 
come to an agreement concerning it. It is a problem closely connected 
with the limitation of naval armaments and the co-operation of the 
navies of the world in keeping the seas at once free and safe." 


As America became belligerent and joined in the British blockade, 
Freedom of the Seas, from being the basis of American policy, 
gradually drops into the background. In the second of the Fourteen 
Points (address to Congress, 8th January, 1918), Freedom of the 
Seas appears as only one of America's war aims, though it is still 
obviously an essential element in the whole programme of peace 
proposals. But neither in the " Four Principles " (nth February, 
1918), nor in the " Four Objects " (4th July, 1918), nor in the " Five 
Conditions " (27th September, 1918), does it again specifically appear. 
The President had had, in fact, to make his first concession to the 
force of circumstances. And he could do this without danger to his 
whole structure of peace once the United States had entered the war. 


With a real instinct of statesmanship he had already recognized 
that America being neutral, the Sea was the best possible basis for 
its association with Europe. But now that American armies were 
to invade Europe to impose peace, the United States had a firm 
footing on land for intervention. 

Moreover, American opinion was soon more interested in backing 
up the British blockade to beat the Germans than in the traditional 
rights of American traders. Also there was now the British ally 
to be considered. And surrender, not only of sea supremacy, but 
of sea " self-help " in the matter of blockades and other belligerencies 
did not much appeal to a Great Britain that had just emerged from 
a life-and-death struggle at sea to a position of sea supremacy never 
before achieved. 

Nor was it a recommendation that such a surrender would serve 
to introduce a super-sovereign authority that would regulate 
international relations. The Allies were international dictators and 
were not attracted by an international democracy. The fact that 
Freedom of the Seas had become the base of a League of Nations, 
was no recommendation. For the League, though it appealed to the 
peoples and the pacifists, was looked on askance by patriots and 
politicians of the Right. 

The American claim to Freedom of the Seas had been attacked 
throughout the war by our propagandists and patriots. Even 
internationalists like Professor Gilbert Murray and historians like 
Professor Ramsay Muir, joined the chorus of condemnation. The 
general line of attack was that (a) Freedom of the Seas had no real 
meaning or (b) that it meant surrender of the sea power by which 
the British lived. Then (a) that it was German war propaganda or 
(b) that it was an American peace trap. Or (a) that it was to be the 
basis of a Holy Alliance such as that against whose oppression 
America had declared the Monroe doctrine or (b) that it was the vain 
approach to a visionary Utopia. Finally (a) that the difficulties 
were insuperable and (b) that it was too dangerous to touch. 

Therefore, when the Germans offered to surrender on the terms 
of the Fourteen Points there was much anxiety in London lest this 
might enable the President to force Point II — the Freedom of the 
Seas — on the Allies. And the attitude of British statesmen and the 
atmosphere in which they dispose of the destinies of the world is 


worth reproducing from the Diary of Field-Marshal Sir Henry 
Wilson. (Vol. II, p. 135) : 

" Then we discussed President Wilson's answer to Prince Max. 
Clemenceau and Pichon were for taking no notice. They said they had 
no official cognizance, so could take none. Lloyd George pressed that 
an answer, not for publication, be sent, pointing out that if the Boches 
accepted the 14 points we should be in a difficult position, as we could 
not agree to Point 2, ' Freedom of the Seas,' and that therefore we 
should tell Wilson plainly that evacuation of occupied territory was a 
necessary preliminary to any exchange of views about an Armistice, 
which would then be a matter for the Military to settle." 

This entry was on 13th October, and the next day he continues : 

" I saw in the paper this morning that the Boches have accepted my 
Cousin's offer (President Wilson, no relation), viz. evacuation of all 
occupied territories and 14 points. Milner telephoned to say I had to go 
down to Hassocks to Lloyd George for lunch. I found there Lloyd 
George, A.J.B. (Lord Balfour), Bonar Law, Milner, Winston (Churchill), 
Reading, Wemyss (Deputy First Sea Lord), Hankey (Secretary, War 
Cabinet), Philip Kerr (Prime Minister's Secretary). We discussed : 
1. What we were to say to President Wilson. 2. What we were to say 
to the Press. 

" As regards Wilson, we agreed that we would wire to say that he must 
make it clear to the Boches that his 14 points (with which we do not 
agree) were not a basis for an armistice, which is what the Boches pretend 
they are. As regards the Press, we agreed that they should be told that 
Wilson is acting on his own, that the War is not over, that the 14 points 
are not an armistice, and that an armistice is not sl peace. It was a very 
interesting afternoon. Everyone angry and contemptuous of Wilson." 

Certainly a comparison of the characters of this British militarist 
with that of his great pacifist namesake and a consideration of the 
political influence acquired by this bigoted and arrogant though 
able soldier will make us angry and contemptuous to-day ; though 
not with the American Wilson. Unfortunately the personal and 
professional influence in politics of Generals and Admirals still 
prevails only too often and still produces disastrous mistakes in our 
foreign relations with friendly peoples. 

But, in the light of the above extracts, we can understand how it 
came about that, when President Wilson later formally submitted 
the Armistice terms to the British, these reserved themselves 
complete' freedom as to the Second Point. And in this they easily 


secured the support of their allies. Which, however, would not have 
precluded or prevented the President from pressing it at the Con- 
ference had this been otherwise possible. But the British opposition 
to any revision of Sea Law was strongly supported by the other 
Allies. For it was well worth while for France, Italy, and the others 
to get British support for their territorial claims at the cost of 
accepting a British command of the seas that would be the best 
guarantee for securing and safeguarding a settlement in opposition 
to national ethics and international economics. Against this 
unholy Alliance of the Armies and Navies of Europe, led by the 
diplomats and demagogues, President Wilson could not even count 
on a solid support from his own countrymen for his peace policy. 
Not only was public opinion in America in a fever of war psychosis 
against Germany and all Germany's war aims, including Freedom 
of the Seas, but it was fascinated by the glory and glamour of the 
Great War, and its grimness and grossness had not had time to force 
itself on Americans as it had on Europeans. Owing to the homo- 
geneous character of the people and the insularity of their continent, 
Americans have a capacity for concentrating on one point of view 
which is as dangerous to themselves in peace as to their enemies in 
war. The end of the war came while their nationalist navalism was 
at its height, consequently the anti-navalist internationalism of the 
President was as noxious to these patriots as to the British. 

For this and other reasons a further handicap came to be imposed 
on the President. The elections for the Senate (November 1918), 
gave a majority to the Republicans ; and in March 1919, Senator 
Lodge, the most bitter opponent of Wilsonism, became Chairman of 
the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It is true that the 
Republicans only got their majority with the help of Senator La 
Follette, an independent, and of Senator Newberry, who had been 
sentenced to imprisonment under the Federal Corrupt Practices 
Act, and was only saved to vote by the Supreme Court declaring the 
Act unconstitutional. But so mysterious are the dispensations of 
providence that to the escape of the Senator for Michigan is probably 
due the exclusion of a naval settlement from the peace and the 
present collision between British and American Sea Power. For, 
on President Wilson's sailing on his second journey to Versailles, 
Senator Lodge was in a position to inform him that his project of a 


Peace League must be dropped. The President was not the man 
to be dictated to by the Senate ; but thereafter he was in that 
position of an Executive in conflict with the Senate which he himself 
had described as the curse of the American Constitution. (Congres- 
sional Government, 1885, pages 50 to 52). 

By accepting various Senate amendments to the League Covenant 
the President had avoided an open rupture with Congress and re- 
turned to Versailles to deal with the diplomats and demagogues there, 
who, in his absence, had dropped the principle of a peace settlement 
by the League and had been busy reconstructing Europe in accord- 
ance with the ■ ' Secret Treaties . ' ' One of these amendent s established 
as international law one of the American principles of policy by 
including in the Covenant recognition of the Monroe doctrine. 
(Art. XXI.) But the other more truly international principle, that 
of Freedom of the Seas, was dropped, and disappeared. The President 
had to lighten his load, and that he should have forced the League 
on the Conference is, in the circumstances, a feat that puts him in 
the front rank of the world's workers for the peace of nations. 


Having thus explained how it happened that the foundation stone 
upon which he framed his Temple of Peace came to be left out of 
the final structure, we are not concerned with the story of his other 
struggles with the powers of darkness. It is quite the most tragic 
story of the many tragedies of great Statesmen. We see him 
arriving in Europe, a last hope of all the honourable men and women 
who had been suffering for years under the horrors of the new war- 
fares and the worst dishonours of the old diplomacies. We see him 
in the Council of Four opposing an — " I stand for the right " to the 
sinister secret intrigues of his colleagues. " This man talks like 
Jesus Christ," sneered the " Tiger." We see him back on the 
American platform appealing for his mutilated Peace League, his 
malversated Points, and his misappropriated principles, to fellow 
countrymen who could not recognize his difficulties but realized his 
defeat. And we see him struck dumb in the crisis of disaster. Yet 
he had achieved more, in spite of all his mistakes, than could have 
been expected from any man. And if his disciples now can finish 


his task by bringing British and Americans together for disarma- 
ment, peace, and Freedom of the Seas, it is only because he did not 
wholly fail. 

Wilson looked on the League as a means of rectifying the wrongs 
of the Peace Treaties and of reconstructing the regime of international 
relations on a peace footing. But the " Tiger " school looked on it 
as a means of prolonging the War Alliances and of imposing the 
penalties of the Treaty. It is a question indeed whether on 
balance the results of Versailles are better than those of Vienna in 
the settlement of a century earlier. The Vienna peace terms were 
more equitable and stable than those of Versailles, while the League 
of Nations has more capabilities for good and less for evil than the 
Holy Alliance. The difference in favour of the League is due partly 
to the more democratic character of the leading constituent nations, 
and partly to the more resolute character of Wilson as compared 
with that of the Tsar Alexander, the founder of the Holy Alliance. 


Some volumes of original documents of the Peace Conference 
were published three years after it had ended (Woodrow Wilson and 
the World Settlement). The third volume contains the confidential 
memoranda to President Wilson written by the United States Naval 
Advisory Staff under Rear-Admiral W. S. Benson. These are State 
documents of the highest importance whose publication has not 
received the attention it deserves in British circles. They give an ad- 
mirable insight into the true American standpoint on naval and many 
other questions, and they set out very fully and fairly the reasons 
why the United States should have a Navy as large as that of Great 
Britain. For example (Extract No. 22, 14th March, 1919, Vol. Ill) : 

" The League of Nations," wrote the Advisory Staff (which at that 
time was working on the basis of a League), " must be strong enough 
to restrain, if necessary, its strongest member. No international Navy 
made up of ships of heterogeneous types, training, language, custom and 
command could hope to cope with the British Fleet. There must exist 
in such an international force a single unit of the same nationality of 
equal strength to the navy of Great Britain. Such a unit with the 
assistance of the forces of the League would be able to enforce the 
mandates of the League against any power. The United States has its 


ambitions satisfied and can be relied upon to support loyally the League 
of Nations. The nations of the world know this and have faith in us. 
Should we ever fail in our international obligations there would exist 
the forces of the League with the fleet of Great Britain to apply the 

Although America is not a member of the League of Nations 
every word of these arguments applies to-day. For this policy 
contemplates a community of naval interests in international law 
that would offer a security and sanction of a different order from 
paper protocols. 

Again : 

" There are in the world but two great Powers whose existence depends 
on naval strength. These are Great Britain and Japan. In the past 
Great Britain built with the exclusive idea of keeping a safe superiority 
over the German fleet. In the future her sole naval rival will be the 
United States, and every ship built or acquired by Great Britain can 
have in mind only the American fleet. Japan has no rival in the Pacific 
except America. Every ship built or acquired by Japan can have in 
mind only opposition to American naval strength in the Pacific. The 
United States, in their desire to maintain the peace of the world and 
to help all nations, must not forget the necessity of national safety. 
Any reduction in our relative naval strength will weaken our influence 
in the world and will limit our ability to serve the League of Nations." 

These arguments may suggest that the naval writers were still 
basing themselves on Balance of Power. But a closer reading will 
reveal that it was not the old Balance of Sea Power, in which each 
Navy was competing for sea supremacy ; but a new balance in 
which the navies should combine to establish the joint minimum 
necessary for sea police and the individual maximum to be contri- 
buted by any State. This was the principle afterwards partially 
applied at Washington. And, in balancing the American Fleet 
as an international sanction against the British Fleet, concerned 
only with its own national security, the authors were facing the very 
fact which subsequently has checked further progress in pursuit of 
disarmament. The view held by the American Government of 
that day undoubtedly represents American opinion then and now ; 
and may be summarized as follows : 

" A stable League of Nations, or any other stable system of Sea Law 
and Security, requires two equally great navies. In the case of the League, 


with one dominant naval power, namely Great Britain, the most powerful 
non-member, namely America, must have a fleet equal to that strongest 
Navy in the League." 

In the case of an Anglo-American association, however, the 
joint navies need be no larger than would dominate any other 
possible association. America, whether in the League of Nations or 
outside, must accept the burden of a Navy equal to Great Britain's. 
These documents can be of such service to a real understanding of 
position that we will give another extract (Adm. Benson to 
Pres. Wilson, 7th April, 1919) : 

" Every great change in world conditions makes it incumbent on each 
of the several States of the world to re-examine its special situation, and 
to determine from this examination the policies that will enable it best 
to fulfil its duties to the world and to itself. Such a change in world 
conditions has come and such a duty now falls upon us as Americans. 
There are many interrelated external policies which America must 
determine, but this paper deals with naval policy only. Naval policy is 
a means to an end, a means designed to assist the State in the attainment 
of its international mission. This mission for the United States is two- 
fold — a duty to itself and a duty to the world. 

I. To promote and guard the interests of the United States in 

every way consonant with justice. 
II. To assist in promoting the welfare of the world. 

" We can make no progress in promoting our international interests, 
or in promoting the welfare of the world, except through international 
relations. Whenever we enter into such relations we meet with other 
national aims, with other national desires for the advancement of the 
interests of other nations." 

After arguments showing that nations seek their advantages by 
negotiations with force as a sanction and that real negotiation in 
nternational affairs can only take place between equals in power, 
the memorandum continues : 

"... When we examine our own world situation in the new order of 
things, we realize that all of our important international relations and 
all of our important international questions hinge upon matters relating 
to the sea and sea communications. We cannot advance our external 
interests, nor can we influence world policy, except by way of the sea. 
Practically all of our great commerce is sea commerce. If any foreign 
State desires to bring military pressure to bear upon us, it must be a 


pressure based upon possible operations by way of the sea. The attack 
of our Colonies, of our commerce, of our frontiers, depends first of all 
upon what happens at sea. Conversely if we desire to retaliate or to exert 
opposing military pressure, we must base our efforts upon our sea power. 

" In the past our naval position has derived great strength from the 
potential hostility of the British and German Fleets. Neither the German 
nor the British Fleet could venture abroad without grave risk that the 
other would seize the opportunity thus presented to crush a rival. This 
condition gave to America a position of special strength both in council 
and in decision, because her navy was so strong that no other navy could 
neglect its influence. All that is now changed. The German fleet has 
ceased to exist, with the result that we suddenly find the British navy 
in a position of unparalleled strength. No navy is left in Europe capable 
of offering any real resistance to the British Navy. 

"Under present conditions the British Navy, with its world-wide 
supporting organization, is strong enough to dominate the seas in whatever 
quarter of the globe that domination may be required. We do not 
consider this a condition calculated to advance either our own just 
interests or the welfare of the world. A power so absolute that it may 
disregard other powers with impunity, is less apt to act with justice than 
if there be a balancing influence of force as well as of world opinion to 
oppose it. This is true within a League of Nations as well as without a 
League of Nations. 

" Even when force is not applied, the knowledge of its readiness is 
always an asset in negotiation. The smooth and leisurely phrases of 
diplomacy derive their pungency from a vision of the force in readiness 
that lies behind them. Governments are influenced less by words than 
by material facts. We are conscious of this in every phase of the 
proceedings of the Peace Conference now in progress. Everyone, except 
ourselves, looks to British Naval Representatives for suggestions in 
naval matters, and to French Military Representatives for suggestions 
in military matters. This phenomenon is the unavoidable tendency of 
the strong to dominate, and of the weak to accept domination." 

It is interesting to speculate as to whether what now follows was 
brought to the notice of the British Cabinet before the meeting of the 
Coolidge Naval Conference at Geneva or was studied by the British 
delegates at that ill-fated meeting : 

" Since we are considering naval policy as affecting American interests, 
and since the British Navy is the only navy in existence that can threaten 
the American Navy, British policies have a peculiar interest for us. 
Every great commercial rival of the British Empire has eventually found 


itself at war with Great Britain— and has been defeated. Every such 
defeat has strengthened the commercial position of Great Britain. 

" The constant effort of Great Britain through centuries has been to 
acquire control of the foci of the sea commerce of the world. 

" A present governing policy of Great Britain is the control and monoply 
so far as possible^of international communications. These include : 

Submarine Telegraph Cables, 
Radio Systems, 
Commercial Aircraft, 
Merchant Shipping, 
Fuelling Facilities, 
Fuel Deposits. 

" The British negotiations at the Peace Conference are conducted 
with these objects frankly in view. Their attainment is possible largely 
through British strength at sea. No one can contend that such monopolies 
represent the promotion of interests that are just to all the world. 

" The possibility of future war is never absent from the minds of 
statesmen, so we see in the British negotiations a very careful attention 
to the preservation of their present military domination of the sea." 

And again, in the same memorandum the members of the Naval 
Mission refer to the British desire for the most liberal interpretation 
of belligerent rights on the High Seas. On this the following com- 
ment is made : 

" Very few people realize how reluctant the British are to codify 
maritime international law. They naturally prefer the absence of law 
in order that during war their Navy may have complete freedom of 
action. The absence of maritime law during the present war has led 
to an expansion of so-called belligerent rights that certainly would never 
be accepted by an International Congress. 

And be it noted that in these memoranda, written in 1919, there is 
no reaching out after hegemony or domination at sea. All the 
Americans were asking was for a Navy equal to the most powerful 
Fleet in the world. Later in the same memorandum (No. 23) the 
following argument is used ; and it underlines one of the principal 
contentions put forward in these pages : 

"It is not believed, however, that any competition in armaments is 
necessary. Once the principle of two equal naval Powers ... is made 
clear to our own people and to the British public, a means will be found 
to maintain a parity of the two fleets with the minimum of burden to 
the taxpayer." 


If the reader will examine the arguments used in these memoranda 
written at the end of a Great War and never intended for the public 
eye, least of all for the foreign eye, he will see in them a high devotion 
to public service and a true conception of peace on the part of 
citizens of a warlike and wealthy nation. They leave the way 
open for Englishmen who can rise to the same heights to join with 
that nation in ensuring the interests of the world. 


The death of President Wilson, the rejection of the Peace Treaty 
by Congress, and the repudiation of a partial and partisan League 
by American opinion, left the settlement of the issue between 
British Command of the Seas and American Freedom of the Seas 
to a future agreement between these two Sea Powers. For the 
League, owing to British supremacy and American suspicion, had 
become as inacceptable an arbiter as had been the Papacy between 
England and Spain in 1498, or between Great Britain and Germany 
in 1917. In order to give an idea how insuperable this American 
suspicion is and how insoluble at present are all equations including 
Washington and Geneva as factors, we shall quote what was said 
of the League by Senator Norris in the debate on the Treaty. He 
hits hard, but his homeliness has the ring of truth and is racy of the 
real opinion of Americans. 

" I started this thing in good faith. No man had more honest and 
beautiful intentions than I had when the peace conference met at 
Versailles. No man in the world was more anxious than I to have per- 
manent peace. I believed that our allies were honest and honourable. 
I thought they were square ; I thought they were fair ; and when the 
league of nations part of the treaty was first given to the world, while 
I disliked some of it, I was on the point of swallowing it. But when I 
discovered that these same men who had talked eloquently here to us 
had in their pockets secret treaties when they did it ; when I discovered 
that they pulled out those secret treaties at the peace table in contraven- 
tion of and in contradiction to every agreement they had made when we 
entered the peace conference ; when I saw that they were demanding 
that those secret treaties be legalized, and more than all, when I saw 
our President lie down and give in and submit to the disgrace, the 
dishonour, the crime and the sin of that treaty, then I said, ' Great God ! 


I don't believe I want to have any dealing with you people. You are 
dishonest ! You have concluded to act here just the same as you were 
acting in barbarous days, after proclaiming to us, and after we believed 
you were in earnest and fighting for democracy to build a peace, and a 
world peace, a league of nations that would bring peace and happiness 
forever to a suffering people." (History of the Foreign Policy of the 
United States. Adams. Pages 410, 411.) 

This quotation is given as representing what we believe to be 
still the real opinion of a majority of Americans. This was the 
frame of mind in which Congress rejected the Treaty and accession 
to the League. And the Democratic Party responsible for them was 
heavily defeated in the election of 1920 which made Mr. Harding 
President. Though the election of 1920 was not fought mainly on 
the League issue, though many prominent public men — Root, Taft, 
Hughes, Hoover, Lowell, etc. — signed a manifesto that they were 
voting Republican as the best way of bringing the United States 
into the League, though Hughes was made Secretary of State, and 
though a plank was introduced into the Republican platform " to 
straddle the League," yet once the election was over there was no 
doubt as to the policy of the new President and of the old partisans. 
President Harding in his opening address to Congress (12th April, 
192 1), declared — 

" In the existing League of Nations, world governing with its super 
powers, this Republic will have no part." 

And public and galleries, until then uninterested, burst into applause. 
It was no encouragement to believers in the League that the 
President went on to adumbrate his ambition of starting a " new 
association of nations " — " conceived in peace and dedicated to 
peace." The comment of the Senator for Missouri — " What he says 
of the League suits me, I don't know what the rest means " — 
probably expressed the mass of American opinion. 

Of all the counts in the long indictment that history will bring 
against the Peace Conference the most serious will be the severence 
of the League from its source in American pacifist idealism and its 
subornation into an instrument of secret diplomacy. For, as a 
result, we find that the United States, which at the end of the war 
were not only the most pacific but the most powerful of the nations, 
were left to pursue their own interests and ideals independently of 


Europe. As their relationship with the allies was thus ruptured and 
that with the former enemy powers not yet fully resumed, the 
United States were isolated and could only make their influence 
felt by pressure. Realizing that their war making had failed in its 
object of bringing peace to Europe, owing to the reaction that 
victory had caused in the Allied peoples, the Americans set about 
forcing peace on Europe by pressure. Europe had refused to be 
led to peace by Wilson : it should be driven by Harding. 


Americans have two great advantages over other peoples as 
peace-makers. They have in the first place public men who are 
not afraid to make a moral appeal on popular lines, irrespective of 
plutocratic interests or political influences ; and they have a public 
opinion that will make a hundred millions respond almost as one 
man to the right motif struck at the right moment. No other 
civilized people, except the Soviet Union, can move as one mass 
with such momentum. 

In the second place the United States are not only the wealthiest 
in resources of men, money, materials, and mechanisms, but have 
also accumulated during the war the savings of Europe spent on 
war supplies. They are able to add money power to moral appeal. 
On the other hand, Europe was left by the war a welter of victors 
in reaction, of vanquished in revolution, and of new nations still in 
renascence, all alike impoverished and all preparing another war. 
For example, in 1912, two years before the Great War, France 
spent £40,000,000 on war preparations — in 1920, two years after 
it, the bill for war preparations was over £200,000,000. 

The Americans, their moral appeal having failed, turned to money 
pressure. Their exaction of the war debts which has been so much 
resented in Europe and in England on moral grounds, has a per- 
fectly good moral justification. A creditor is justified as a good 
citizen in enforcing the conditions of his contract against a debtor who 
is imperilling the peace by spending the money, not on developing 
his business, but on buying weapons to fight his rivals. Put down 
your swords and daggers or pay up your debts — was a perfectly 
sound policy in the interests of humanity. 


With this policy of enforcing debt payments we are not directly 
concerned, but only with a development of it. 

" We Americans can't stop you all in Europe from further ruining 
yourselves with expenditure on armaments and their inevitable result 
in further wars, but we can check you by making you pay your debts 
to us. Further, we will ourselves use your money for so outbuilding you 
in armaments that we shall have not only our present financial hold over 
the situation but also a naval supremacy. That financial and naval 
supremacy, with the power of political pressure it gives us, we shall use 
for making a peace and maintaining a police in the world." 

That is the argument. The attitude is not unlike that which we 
British assumed during the past century when we were in a somewhat 
similar position of power. 

That policy has been pursued with much persistence, and the 
financial basis of it is now laid in the various funding agreements 
under which European peoples now pay, or don't pay, an annual 
tribute, proportional to their means, for the support of an American 
naval police. It must be admitted that this payment is no more 
popular than was the ship-money levied by Charles I for a fleet to 
fight pirates. It must also be admitted that the practical security 
for peace thereby procured is preferable to that which they would 
get by their subscriptions to the League. For the Americans did 
not wait for the receipts of this " education rate," or the settlements 
of disputes as to its assessment, to begin providing a police force 
that could give pause to any private national fleet. In the years 
after the war American battleships were built of a class and at a 
cost with which not even the British could compete. A programme 
of twelve battleships and six battle cruisers, in addition to con- 
struction on the same scale in other classes, was enough to put 
American command of the sea in a class by itself within a very few 
years. For the British had had to reduce their swollen war fleet 
to a peace footing for reasons of economy. In the years after the 
war the British practically stopped construction and scrapped 
about 1,800,000 tons of warships. But in 1921, in reply to the 
American programme, they started building four super-Hoods. In 
1920 Japan had started a programme of battleships for completion 
in 1928. An armaments competition between an Anglo- Japanese 
allied fleet and the American fleet was thus launched to the 


distress of the British democracy and the dismay of the British 

But the Americans did not press the competition to its logical 
conclusion. Because in the first place, as has been shown in 
Chapter II, the battleship as the prime factor of naval power was 
already obsolete. Though its extravagant cost in comparison with 
its effective value made it very suitable for a game of beggar my 
neighbour. The obvious procedure therefore was to force an agree- 
ment on disarmament with Great Britain by building battleships ; 
but not to press this beyond the very first point at which the 
required eifect had been produced. The American version of our 
" Jingo •' war chant would be : 

" We don't want to fight, but by Monroe ii you do, 
We'll have the ships, we'll have the men, we'll have your 
money too." 


Now this power makes the American move for disarmament a 
very different thing from that of any previous move in history 
for this purpose. Benevolent monarchs have often made disarma- 
ment proposals at the end of a period of war. Thus the progressive 
Austrian Emperor Joseph, after the Seven Years' War, proposed 
a reduction of armaments to Frederick the Great. The cynical 
King of Prussia attributed this to the weakness either of the Austrian 
Prince or of the Austrian purse. The Tsar Alexander took the same 
line at Vienna after the Napoleonic wars. His successor in 1898 
succeeded in getting the first Hague Conference of 1899 with as 
little result. But all these moves failed, as did President Wilson's, 
because there was behind them no sanction of money power or of 
military power. 

President Harding was nothing like so great a man as President 
Wilson ; but he succeeded where Wilson failed because a material 
pressure was more suitable to the circumstances than a moral appeal. 
Also President Wilson had prepared a procedure for him and had 
perhaps premeditated this policy as a second string. For President 
Wilson seems to have foreseen that the general peace might not 
include a settlement of the sea as he had hoped. In the Naval 


Appropriation Act (29th August, 1916, United States Statute, 
vol. 39, page 618) after outlining American Naval Policy, and 
observing — 

" that without a common agreement every considerable power must 
maintain a relative standing in strength " 

the Act authorized the President to construct a very considerable 
new navy within three years, namely, ten battleships, six battle 
cruisers, and smaller vessels to correspond. It further authorized 
him on the close of the war to call a Conference to consider dis- 
armament. Here, therefore, we have the beginning of the " stick 
and carrot " alternative subsequently pursued. The war ended 
officially for the United States under the Treaties of 192 1, whereupon 
President Harding acted on this mandate on the motion of Senator 

In his procedure he avoided the three main mistakes of his 
predecessor. He entrusted the conduct of the affair to able 
lieutenants, his Secretary of State, Mr. Hughes, the ex-Secretary 
of State, Mr. Root, and the Chairman of the Senate Committee, 
Senator Lodge ; and he also included a Democratic representative 
of the opposition party, Senator Underwood. This, coupled with 
his advantage that there was a Republican majority in both Houses, 
kept the country solid behind him. Then, having called the Con- 
ference at Washington, with the Atlantic breezes between it and 
the fogs of Versailles, he conducted it on the lines of open 
diplomacy and kept clear of the " conclave " behind locked doors 
and the consultation-in-a-corner procedure that gives intrigue its 
best openings. 

The aims of the Washington Conference (1st November, 1921) 
were stated in the invitation in wording that had not the popular 
appeal of Wilson's pronunciamentos. There was no need for it. 
We have here a bank president expounding his policy to clients 
dependent on his credits, not a prophet proclaiming a gospel of 
peace. For example : 

" The enormous disbursements in the rivalries of armaments manifestly 
constitute the greater part of the encumbrance upon enterprise and 
national prosperity, and avoidable or extravagant expense of this nature 
is not only without economic justification but is a constant menace to 
the peace of the world rather than an assurance of its preservation." 


Which is the Big Business way of saying that warships mean waste 
to-day and war to-morrow. 

The agenda showed a very practical grasp of what had to be 
done to get peace. It may be divided into two main methods ; 
one, disarmament by reciprocal reduction and the other demilitarisa- 
tion by regional restrictions. The first was a general aim and 
concerned chiefly the British Command of the Atlantic ; the second 
had a more special aim and concerned the Japanese Command of 
the Pacific. The agenda was divided under two heads : 

I. Limitation of armaments sub-divided into : 
(i) Limitation of naval armaments. 

(2) Restriction of new weapons. 

(3) Limitation of land armaments, 

II. Pacific questions sub-divided into : 

(1) China. 

(2) Siberia. 

(3) Mandated Islands. 


The Conference was convened for Armistice Day, 1921. The 
ceremonial at the grave of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington had 
made an impressive and emotional appeal, and President Harding's 
opening address had been an almost impassioned asseveration of 
the same note. With relief after so much emotional emphasis the 
delegates settled down to what was expected to be a formal intro- 
ductory speech by the Chairman. Lord Balfour stretched his legs, 
Lord Beatty closed his eyes, and Admiral Kato looked more than 
ever like a benign Buddha. 

But after the first few sentences Lord Balfour was gripping the 
arm of his colleague and Lord Beatty gazing stonily at the ceiling 
to conceal his stupefaction. What was this the Secretary of State 
was saying ? He was, just by way of opening the proceedings, 
proposing a 5-5-3 scale, that is, a parity in " capital ships " as 
between the United States and United Kingdom and three-fifths 
of that strength for Japan with 175 for France and Italy — a scrap- 
ping of existing capital ships on a large scale — and a ten-year 


scratching of construction programmes. The " replacement 
tonnage " in capital ships was fixed at 525,000 tons for the United 
States and the United Kingdom, 315,000 tons for Japan, and 175,000 
for France and Italy. He was sinking in a few sentences more 
tonnage in battleships than all the battles of the world had sunk 
in a century. 

The British, after they had recovered breath and got their bear- 
ings, rose to the occasion. After all, the Americans were themselves 
scrapping more new tonnage than anyone and offering Great 
Britain parity when supremacy was within their grasp. Besides, 
battleships had been a good deal blown on as a weapon of war, and 
a competition with America in these illimitable leviathans was out 
of the question. So after consultation with the Dominions Mr. 
Balfour announced that he accepted the principle of parity and the 
Conference began on that basis. 

Japan and France, however, fought hard for an improved position 
in the scale, Japan demanding a ratio of 7-10 instead of 3-5. The 
French Delegation in putting forward a claim for 350,000 tons of 
capital ships and no less than 90,000 tons of submarines caused the 
one breeze that ruffled the smooth course of the Conference. For 
Lord Balfour pointed out that such an armada of submarines could 
only be aimed against Great Britain. This " Tigerish " intracta- 
bility, combined with the coincident raid into the Ruhr, sacrificed 
much that was left of America's sentiment for France. The World 
cartooned France trying on the spiked helmet of old Prussia. 

But the American position was too strong, and both the 5-5-3 
scale and the proposed scrapping and scratching of construction 
was accepted with some modifications. The Japanese were allowed 
to keep their darling Mutsu for whose construction patriotic Japanese 
ladies had sacrificed their jewels. The British were allowed to build 
their Rodney and Nelson, the most powerful warships the world 
has ever seen — or it is to be hoped ever will see. The total replace- 
ment tonnage in capital ships was fixed by the Treaty (Article 4) 
as proposed. The size of each new capital ship was limited to 
35,000 tons and the gun calibre to 16-inch. Though no restriction 
of total tonnage or numbers could be agreed as to cruisers and 
auxiliaries, yet their size was limited to 10,000 tons and their 
calibre to 8-inch. 



The nascent naval rivalry between Great Britain and America 
was thus checked — for the time being. But at the moment this 
rivalry was scarcely realized ; whereas that between America and 
Japan was already recognized as a serious risk. For the war had 
left Japan dominant on land in the Far East, and her demand for 
naval bases and " mandates " in the Pacific centering round the 
possession of Yap had caused great friction and much war talk. 
The Anglo- Japanese Alliance, by which British supremacy at sea 
gave Japan a sort of naval mandate in the Pacific, was a real 
stumbling-block to Anglo-American relations and had become a 
stone of offence to the Dominions. The Japanese had, during the 
war, exploited British support and the absorption of other powers 
by war, to establish their hegemony over Siberia and China. " The 
Twenty-one Demands " made China a Japanese protectorate, and 
at the end of the war Siberia, Shantung, and even the Yangtze 
Valley, the British sphere, were in Japanese military or naval 
occupation. The United States had not only been forced into a 
tacit desertion of the '? open door " and " integrity of China " 
policy, but had had to accept a definite derogation from it in the 
Lansing-Ishii agreement (and November, 1917) which recognized 
Japan's " special interests " in China. 

This very undesirable development of Anglo- Japanese Sea 
Power in the Pacific was now destroyed by the Washington Con- 
ference. The reasons why both British and Japanese accepted an 
association with the United States in the Pacific and the American 
policy of " open door " and " integrity " and abandoned their 
policy of Two-Power supremacy in the Pacific and of occupations 
and interventions in China do not concern us. What does concern 
us is that the Conference substituted, in the Pacific and Far East, 
American Internationalism for Anglo-Japanese Imperialism. On 
that basis disarmament became possible; a disarmament in this 
case of insular naval bases which were springing up all over the 
Pacific and were even more dangerous to peace than battleships. 

We have, in fact, in the Treaty for the Limitation of Naval 
Armaments (Article XIX) a partial demilitarization of the Pacific by 


establishing a sort of neutral zone for the Islands of the Open Ocean 
comparable to that established for the Aaland Islands. Fortifica- 
tions or naval bases in the Pacific Islands were renounced ; and the 
Anglo- Japanese Alliance, which had secured Japan in command 
of the Eastern Seas, was converted into a Four- Power Pact between 
Americans, British, Japanese, and French, guaranteeing the Pacific 
status quo for ten years. 

In other words, the Sea Powers partially disarmed, the Pacific 
Seas were partially demilitarized, and, last but not least, an inter- 
national security pact was accepted, in part, instead of national 
sea power. Diplomatic and domestic considerations, among the 
latter being the constitutional powers of the Senate, restricted the 
sanction of these guarantees to — 

" a joint conference for consideration and adjustment " (Article I) — 

in case of dispute between the signatories and to — 

" communicating with one another fully and frankly in order to arrive 
at an understanding as to the most efficient measures to be taken either 
jointly or separately " (Article II) — 

in case of aggression by another. Moreover, to satisfy the Senate, 
then more intransigently isolationist than ever, a reservation had 
to be added to the effect that — 

" the preamble and provisions of the Treaty were to imply no commitment 
to armed force, no alliance, no obligation to join in any defence." 

Yet there seems to have been no criticism that this was an insuffi- 
cient compensation for the material securities surrendered. 

Moreover, such was the impetus of this American initiative for 
peace that it carried a settlement whose sanction was sea power 
and whose system was naval disarmament, right into a land settle- 
ment of the Far East. The Nine-Power Pact, which restored the 
" open door " in China and Siberia and ended the military occupa- 
tion there, only interests us as showing how far a Sea Settlement 
and an Armed Neutrality at sea can second or even supplement the 
pacification of a League of Land Powers. We shall have, a little 
later, evidence of the limitation of Sea Power in this respect. 

Now, this formation by the Republican President of a Peace 
League for the Far East with naval sanctions was a feat which 


ranks with the formation by his Democratic Predecessor of a Peace 
League of Europe with military sanctions. But Mr. Harding and 
his advisers had not formed so clear-cut and complete a plan as did 
Mr. Wilson. After their first bold gesture they felt, indeed fumbled, 
their way ; and, like their predecessor, they over-shot their objective 
and came into collision with the Senate, thereby compromising 
much that had been secured. But their line of advance to peace 
was even more sound and the effect as profound. They had given 
effect to " the spirit of moral disarmament," to use M. Briand's 
phrase. They established " a landmark in human civilization," 
to use Lord Balfour's. Even Lord Beatty generously granted that 
they had " made idealism a practical proposition." And Lord Lee, 
that protagonist of Anglo-German naval competition, rejoiced that 
they had " changed the prospect of naval war into a promise of 
naval peace." 

The Washington Treaties, with their half moral half naval 
guarantees, take their place, then, somewhere between the League 
Covenant and the Locarno Conventions. In respect of disarmament 
they are as general in their scope as the Covenant, and have 
succeeded in parts where the Covenant has failed. In respect of 
security they are regional like the Conventions and have been 
better carried out to the satisfaction of all parties, save for some 
technical tracasseries. For the dissatisfaction of Japan as to the 
establishment of the Singapore naval base is less justified than 
that of Germany as to the non-evacuation of the Rhine provinces. 


But there is no doubt that, grave as are the military responsibilities 
that the British undertook in the League Covenant and the Locarno 
Conventions, they are less serious than the naval renunciations 
involved in the results of the Washington Conference. British naval 
armaments had, up till then, secured the British not only the safety 
of their sea communications in the Western hemisphere, but also a 
certain suzerainty over all Sovereign States with sea coasts and 
sea-borne commerce. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, in which the 
British were predominant partners, had extended this supremacy 


of the British policy into the seas of the Eastern hemisphere. This 
supremacy the British now resigned in principle by substituting an 
Anglo-American partnership — on a basis of parity, with Japan and 
other sea Powers as secondary associates — for their previous 

That the principle of what the British had done was not recog- 
nized at the time by them appears later from their recoil when the 
proposal arose to extend the principle from capital ships to cruisers. 
For neither the British nor the Americans are lucid or logical 
thinkers. But the fact remains that the Washington Conference 
made a new departure from which there can be, in the circumstances, 
no drawing back. The same force of circumstances that obliged the 
British to accept disarmament in capital ships and a parity partner- 
ship with Americans instead of a predominant partnership with 
Japanese — namely, the sea power of America and the sense of 
racial solidarity, especially in the Dominions — will compel a similar 
response to every fresh American initiative in this direction. The 
only alternative being that of a competition in armaments with 
America — which is absurd. 


But if the British did not clearly realize at Washington what they 
had let themselves in for, the Americans showed as little realization 
of their limitations. They could force naval disarmament — in an 
uneconomic weapon like capital ships — on the British, by first 
showing that they would be outbuilt and then offering them parity 
and security. The grim menace of the grandiose American warships 
on the slips and the generous gesture of scrapping them in the 
interests of peace was a coup that could, coming as a surprise, carry 
all before it. There was no similar carrot and stick for use against 
the French land armaments. M. Briand had been expected to 
repeat the gesture of the Americans. The emotional eloquence of 
his speech in his own language was appreciated with loud applause, 
which was followed by a no less eloquent silence when, on translation, 
it was found that he had been giving a very candid exposition of 
French militarism. He pointed out that there was no security for 
France in Anglo-American sea power, and that the security sought 


by France in the special Treaty signed by President Wilson, and in 
the Sanctions of the League, had been refused by Congress. So 
nothing was done for land disarmament and the Americans were 
reminded that sea power has its limitations. 

This rebuff reacted on regions that were properly within the 
scope of sea power. For, as has been exposed in Chapter II, the 
attempts at Washington to regulate the use of novel and noxious 
weapons of sea war, submarines and aeroplanes, failed as against 
the interests of secondary sea powers in retaining the right of 
independent commerce destruction. The new American sea power 
was a strong enough lever to bring about disarmament in semi- 
obsolete weapons like capital ships ; but not to bring it about in 
respect of effective novel weapons of under-water and overhead 
warfare. The British delegation at Washington pressed for the 
total prohibition of submarine construction. This was, of course, 
opposed by the French, a secondary Sea Power, who relied on 
commerce destruction. It was not then supported by the Americans 
who assumed the British initiative had interested and belligerent 
inspiration. So the proposal failed, and the restriction on the use 
of submarines in the Treaty is of little real value or validity as it 
has not been ratified by France. 

After this check to the American pacifists the militarist forces 
at the Conference rallied ; and when President Harding addressed 
it with the suggestion that the Conference should meet annually 
with a view to forming an " association of nations," he jeopardized 
the good work that had been done. If he had proposed forming 
an " armed neutrality " of sea powers for the security of Freedom 
of the Seas and as a sanction for Sea Law, he would have been 
within his rights and hard to refuse. But the attempt to set up a 
rival to the League that his predecessor had founded and that he 
had repudiated, found no response either with politicians or peoples. 
So the Conference that had opened with an initial impetus that 
might have carried it through to a real re-settlement of sea power 
on international lines, lost its popular appeal. And its prestige 
was still further impaired by a difference between the President 
and the American delegates as to the interpretation of the Four- 
Power Pact. 

This failure of the Americans to realize what they were doing and 


what was still to be done had evil results. By trying to go beyond 
what was essentially a sea settlement into other regions they failed 
to establish and extend the sea settlement itself. At once diffi- 
culties and disputes in its execution arose because the original 
impetus had been lost and no permanent procedure for enforcement 
was provided. Disarmament agreements by reciprocal reductions 
are especially exposed to expert manipulation such as will soon 
destroy all the mutual confidence on which they are based. The 
complaints of American experts that their British rivals were 
stealing an advantage over gun elevations seems to have been 
unfounded. But the suspicions of treason and trickery have done 
their deadly work. On the other hand, the complaints of the 
Japanese that the construction of the Singapore naval dock just 
outside the demilitarised zone of the Pacific was sharp practice, 
seem to some of us well founded. It may be that our experts got 
the zone so drawn as to allow of this naval base being made ; but a 
breach of the spirit of a settlement is none the less a breach if 
committed during negotiations. 


One lesson painfully learned during the ten years that have 
passed since the end of the last war is that disarmament must be 
in a measure coercive, because no Government will take the 
responsibility of disarming except to avoid some risk that is worse. 
The only real disarmament, naval and military, has been that of 
Germany and of the other enemy Powers, which was purely coercive. 
And although this entailed a solemn moral obligation on the 
victorious signatories of the Treaty to disarm, this obligation has 
not been observed. For the demobilization of the British war 
fleets and the demolition of obsolete or obsolescent vessels was not 
disarmament. We accordingly find a partial naval disarmament 
in capital ships only, achieved by the menace of an American 
armament with which no other Power could compete. From this 
we may fairly argue that complete naval disarmament, with which 
alone we are here concerned, will only be achieved by the coercion 
of an Anglo-American associated armament with which no other 
Power can compete. A mere removal of the risk against which the 


armament is built up is obviously not sufficient. Indeed, by 
removing a coercion and a sanction it reduces the chance of a 
reciprocal reduction even when that is required by treaty obligation. 
Germany was the second most formidable naval Power in the world ; 
but her total removal as a naval Power merely made it less likely 
that other Sea Powers would disarm as they were bound to do under 
the Treaty of Versailles. Germany to-day is undoubtedly pacific 
and progressive. Yet the failure of the other signatories of the 
Treaty of Versailles to disarm in accordance with their pledges has 
led to a serious agitation in Germany for permission to increase her 
own armaments. 

The Washington Treaty of 1921 did lead to a substantial limitation 
of armaments ; it checked the further building of battleships and 
battle cruisers ; and it set a limit to the number of aeroplane- 
carriers and the size of cruisers. Why was this ? Simply because 
the United States had under construction a very powerful Dread- 
nought battleship fleet. If these great battleships had been com- 
pleted the American people would have possessed the strongest 
navy, at any rate on paper, in the world. The risk of inevitably 
incurring and possibly encountering this American supremacy at 
sea was greater than that of resigning battleship tonnage. So the 
British and Japanese consented to partial disarmament, scrapping 
twelve magnificent ships. The blow to their pride and prestige 
being alleviated by the generous gesture of America in scrapping 
and surrendering her supremacy at sea. But though America's 
generosity made partial disarmament easier to the other parties, it 
gravely imperilled completion of the process. For the coercion, 
which, as we have said, is the only means of compelling disarmament 
is now lacking, and at once the " experts " began to seek means of 
evasion from the moral obligation. For the risk of disarmament was 
represented as now being greater than the risk of not disarming. 


The belief of the man-in-the-street, especially in America, was that 
the principle of parity had been established and that equal navies in 
all respects would be maintained as between Britain and America, 
with a smaller ratio for France and Japan. It had soon to be 


recognized that Great Britain would construe this Treaty strictly 
and would observe its provisions rather than its principles. The 
British were prepared to accept parity in capital ships because com- 
petition with America was hopeless owing to the tremendous cost 
of these leviathans, £7,000,000 to £9,000,000 each. It was useless 
in the view of many British naval experts, including some high 
naval authorities, on the ground that the day of the great battleship 
was over. As to the submarines the British, whether of the new or 
old school, had no use for a weapon whose principle use was commerce 
destruction, and whose secondary use against surface warships 
threatened to put them out of business altogether. 

The British experts were, however, arguing to themselves thus ; 
the battleship is too blown upon to be worth bothering about, and 
we can't compete in them on account of cost — let us therefore 
accept parity there. The submarine and aeroplane are new-fangled 
noxious weapons that knock the bottom out of our strategy and 
tactics — let us prohibit them, or at least prevent their use as far as 
possible. But in cruisers we can compete. In that weapon we 
enjoy the accumulative expertize and experience of two centuries 
of sea supremacy. And our commerce and coast protection require 
that we should retain that supremacy. By the grace of God and 
President Harding Britannia may still rule the waves. So when it 
came to cruisers the British representatives had insisted at Wash- 
ington, with success, on no limit being placed to the number that 
could be built. The Americans consented, considering that parity 
was accepted in the primary weapon — battleships — and in principle ; 
but they imposed limitation in size and gun-power of cruisers. 

As soon as ever the naval architects were ready with the designs 
of a new type of cruiser, directed to developing the maximum fighting 
force compatible with the Washington limitations of tonnage, 1 the 
British Admiralty embarked on a very extensive building programme 
of these ships. And in this they had the support of traditional 
British policy and of a large section of public opinion. 

For many generations the British have been taught to believe 
that their whole national existence and prosperity depends on sea 
power. Not realizing either the revolution effected by the war in 

1 The Washington measurement is a departure from previous naval practice. 
On the old measurements the tonnage is nearer 13,000 than 10,000 tons. 


naval weapons, or the redistribution of sea power due to the creation 
of a supreme American navy, or the recourse open to them of sub- 
stituting an international naval security for a national naval security, 
they were ready to resort to the obvious and only weapon left to 
them — that of cruisers. Thus the British Admiralty in agitating for 
this very cruiser programme, which they forced upon successive 
reluctant British Governments, Labour and Conservative alike, were 
acting for an important section of the British public. 

The mistake was in the British Admiralty not having realised the 
new factors in the problem of naval command of the seas, and in the 
British Government not having given the public any education as 
to the essential changes in the problem of sea power and sea pro- 
tection. Under these conditions, it was easy for an Admiralty, 
anxious as to its responsibilities for national security and only alive 
to the problem in its old terms of sea power and surface vessels, to 
force an ambitious cruiser programme alike on Conservative econo- 
mists and Labourite pacifists. 

The first Labour Government took office in the early part of 1924 
and found the Defence Estimates laid before them as left by their 
predecessors, the first Conservative Government of Mr. Baldwin, 
with a programme of eight cruisers, of which five cruisers of the new 
type would be laid down in the year 1924. Mr. Macdonald and his 
Government made a fight for it ; but they were outnumbered in the 
House of Commons, they were outmatched in the Press, and they 
were outmanoeuvred by their advisers in the Committee of Imperial 
Defence. Moreover they simply could not risk running counter to 
what had been the creed of the British Public for centuries. 

Five of these new large type cruisers, carefully designed to combine 
the greatest possible offensive power compatible with the Washington 
Conference, were accordingly laid down by Mr. Macdonald's Govern- 
ment. If that Government had remained in office a full and detailed 
enquiry into the matter would have been instituted and the necessary 
education of public opinion initiated. That Government, however, 
fell in the following October. 

The Conservative Government that followed it, with a large inde- 
pendent majority in Parliament, fought hard against the Admiralty 
purely in the interests of economy. But economy is too negative an 
appeal to effect so drastic a new departure in national policy ; and 



in the end the pacific Mr. Baldwin and his powerful Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, Mr. Winston Churchill, were beaten by the Admiralty 
and by that " authority " to which Mr. Ponsonby, ex-Under Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs, rightly ascribes the responsibility for all 
wars. The " Birkenhead " programme of 1925 provided for nine 
10,000-ton cruisers and seven 8000-tonners, four in the first year 
and three in each following year, so by the beginning of 1927 the 
British had on the stocks twelve large post-Washington cruisers, 
while the Japanese and French had four, and the Americans only 
had provision for two of the eight authorized. 

This building programme in cruisers allayed the anxieties of 
those who had begun to realize that British sea supremacy had been 
surrendered at Washington, but alarmed and angered the American 
Press and public. The public opinion of America supposed that 
parity in all types of naval vessels had been agreed upon at Wash- 
ington six years previously. It now suspected that, though Britain 
might be sticking to the strict letter of the Washington Treaty, she 
was straining the spirit, as she had done in the case of the Singapore 
Dock. In June 1927 the Americans signed contracts for the remain- 
ing six of their authorized eight 10,000-tonners. 

Was there any justification for this suspicion ? At first sight one 
might say that there was very little. The statistics published by the 
American State Department on the eve of the Geneva Conference 
(March 1927) show little cause for alarm. 

American British Japanese 
Cruisers — 
Built — modern . 

twenty years old 
Total tonnage . 
Total tonnage . 

Destroyers and Leaders 
Built . 

Tonnage . 

Submarines — 

Tonnage . 

























On this showing the British superiority in cruiser tonnage is only 
in tonnage under construction, and is counterbalanced by a great 
inferiority in destroyer and submarine tonnage. But what was a 
spur to public opinion in America and the trump card of the Big 
Navy agitation was the fact that the British cruisers were nearly all 
modern, the American nearly all ancient. So that a comparison of 
modern ships built gave the British fifty to the American fifteen, 
and the fourteen British building were more formidable in type 
than the two American 10,000-tonners. 

That the British had, in fact, practically profited under the Wash- 
ington Treaty is, however, not contested by them. Take, for example, 
the following extract from a communication of the Times Washing- 
ton correspondent (4th July, 1927). 

"It is important to remember that Americans, without exception, 
consider equality at sea with Great Britain to have been conceded at 
Washington in everything save a written instrument. This meant the 
abandonment by Great Britain of the supremacy she had held for a 
century, but, equally, it represented an engagement by the United 
States not to use her vast wealth and resources to challenge that 
supremacy — an example of mutual wisdom and forbearance. The last 
five years, however, have seen Great Britain, justifiably, of course, so 
far as legal right is concerned, and understandably when her strategic 
and political situation is concerned, increase her sea power to a point which 
American seamen declare to be of decisive preponderance. Pressure 
upon the United States Government to build up to the new figure, or 
even to exceed it, will unquestionably be too strong to resist, unless 
without further delay what is believed to have been the understanding 
of Washington should become a definite agreement." 

" We have scrapped," said the Americans, " about three hundred 
millions of dollars' worth of the most modern capital ships under the 
Washington Treaty, five times as much tonnage as the British and fifty 
times as much as the Japanese. The British were allowed to build their 
Nelson and Rodney, the must powerful ships in the world, the Japanese 
their Mutsu. We have been generous. They seem to be greedy to sneak 
an advantage in the very type of vessels which could be used in some 
future war to hamper our American commerce, whether we are neutral 
or belligerent." 

Which feeling was loudly voiced by the members of the Big Navy 
school in America, until their pressure for an answering building 
programme placed President Coolidge in a difficulty. Wedded to 


economy, he nevertheless had to flirt with the demands for parity 
with Britain in all types of vessels. This American demand for 
parity is represented as emanating from a mere desire for prestige ; 
but it will be found that the real cause of the trouble has been the 
differing views of belligerent rights at sea between the British and 
American peoples. 


In the next move for naval disarmament the United States again 
took the lead. President Coolidge was finding difficulty in restrain- 
ing the Big Navy movement. More than once he had had to protest 
that his actions and announcements in respect to naval matters were 
not to be interpreted as authorizing a naval competition with the 
British. But so generally was this rivalry being assumed on both 
sides of the Atlantic, that delay in extending limitation to the 
auxiliary vessels was becoming daily more dangerous. 

Accordingly invitations were issued (10th February, 1927) to 
Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan to confer for the further 
reduction of naval armaments by the extension of the Washington 
ratio for capital ships of 5-5-3 to all auxiliary war vessels. 

The reception given to this invitation was somewhat invidious. 
The European pacifists, who would have been its natural sup- 
porters, were mostly organized in support of the League and looked 
on the proposal as another American attempt to compete with the 
League. Competition with the League is in the eyes of pacifists as 
culpable, as conflict with the Admiralty in the eyes of 100 per cent, 
patriots. It made no difference to them that the Preparatory 
Commission on Disarmament of the League had just failed, as 
President Coolidge had predicted in his February message that it 
would. It failed because it had not recognized the fundamental 
distinction between the European question of land disarmament and 
the World question of sea disarmament — a distinction which this 
book is largely directed to defining. But even if it had been recog- 
nized there would have been trouble in reconciling " Leaguers " to 
an American independent initiative where the League had failed. 

The British Conservative Government also should have welcomed 
the opportunity of completing the Anglo-American association in 


sea power begun in 1922. But its policy had changed with the relief 
from the financial stringency then prevailing, and with the realiza- 
tion that it had renounced in principle British predominance at sea. 
Mr. Bridgeman had let rather a ]ax^ cat out of the bag in 1926 
when he said (Manchester Guardian, 4th June, 1927) : " We 
should like to feel superior in cruisers." And the Navy League 
were simply provocative. This is their attitude during the 

" We cannot say that it (War between Great Britain and the United 
States) is not to be considered, as it is doubtful how many inhabitants 
of the United States are of the same opinion. The desire of the so-called 
Big Navy Party in the United States for a predominant navy — for 
equality in cruisers technically would tend to have such a result — can 
only be because they do give the subject of war some consideration." 
(Letter of Navy League to Times, July 5th, 1927.) 

The British Government, though it did nothing to check these 
extravagances, did not dare decline the invitation. Not so, however, 
the French and Italians, whose Governments had no intention of 
disarming at all, least of all in submarines and auxiliary commerce- 
destroying vessels, which, being secondary sea Powers, they con- 
sidered especially valuable. Their official reasons for declining are 
not worth reproducing ; for the fact is, that under present political 
conditions in these countries, naval disarmament will only be 
effected under pressure from a powerful armed neutrality of the 
principal sea Powers. Their absence from this Three-Power Con- 
ference of the United States, the British Empire and Japan was, 
therefore, no great loss, even though the French did their best to 
embarrass its proceedings and prevent its success. 


But in other respects the Conference put itself at a disadvantage 
as compared with its predecessor at Washington. In the first place, 
it was convened not at Washington but at Geneva. It even used 
the offices and officials of the League. For Americans do not yet 
seem to have learnt how important atmosphere is for the proper 
producing of their diplomacy by popular appeal. This new diplo- 
macy of theirs with a good producer, the " star " parts well filled 


and featured, and the " stunts " carefully staged, will beat the old 
diplomacy all the time. But all diplomats know that off their own 
ground, in unfamiliar surroundings, Americans lose confidence in 
their own ways of playing the diplomatic game and are likely to copy 
the ways of Europe with disastrous results to themselves. And 
Geneva, where this Conference was convened, has become an inter- 
national Kurort for the old diplomacy, where that decrepit roue 
has taken a new and, it is to be feared, a long lease of life. It was as 
appropriate a place for the purpose of American policy as would 
have been Monte Carlo for an international conference on the 
suppression of gambling. 

If the staging was bad, the " starring " was worse. The main 
subject was big enough, the sums involved large enough, the loss 
and liability from failure serious enough to justify leading statesmen 
on either side in giving their time. Sir Austen Chamberlain was, 
indeed, in Geneva at the opening of the Conference, attending a 
Council of the League, and his attendance at the Naval Conference 
with the Locarno laurels round his brow and the Locarno Garter 
ribbon across his breast, would have helped. For the public has 
never realized that Locarno was only the cashing of credits on the 
Continent accumulated by the Labour Government and that Sir 
Austen, on coming into office, had drawn his cheque on those credits 
so clumsily that it was " returned to drawer " and had had to be 
presented again before it was accepted. But Sir Austen had other 
troubles — in China, Russia, Persia and Egypt. Nor has he ever 
acquired the appreciation of the importance of America, realized by 
his father late in his life and when the new American star was only 
rising over the Western horizon. 

So this presumably minor matter of a few cruisers and a fussy 
American President was left to the First Lord of the Admiralty. 
Though even Mr. Baldwin himself would have been none too big a 
man for the business and Mr. Bridgeman was certainly not big 

Mr. Bridgeman, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and head of the 
British delegation, had been the prospective candidate for the 
Diehard Premiership against Mr. Baldwin when the latter had come 
under suspicion, altogether unfounded, of being a statesman above 
purely party points of view in relations with British Labour. Mr. 


Bridgeman is a country gentleman whose public position has no 
other base than long Parliamentary experience and an easy, cheery 
personality very suitable to post-war British politics. He is in fact 
a politician of the same type as Mr. Baldwin, and he was runner-up 
against him for the Premiership. And it is noteworthy that both 
these typically English politicians have met their most serious set- 
backs at American hands. Mr. Baldwin with his success in arriving 
at a financial settlement ; Mr. Bridgeman with his failure in arriving 
at a naval one. It is evident that cheery optimism and a chaste 
orthodoxy are insufficient weapons with which to meet the power 
of American money backed by both patriotic and pacifist public 

With Mr. Bridgeman was associated another member of the 
Cabinet, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Lord Cecil of 
Chelwood. The Chancellor of the Duchy has come to be the Minister 
of the Cabinet competent in all League affairs and therefore in- 
directly concerned in this Conference ; but Lord Cecil's inclusion in 
the British Commission was an afterthought of the Prime Minister 
— the Opposition having protested in Parliament against entrusting 
a naval disarmament Conference solely to Admirals or their political 
representatives. But, besides these two, the Delegation consisted 
of naval officers, and among the Dominion delegates was Admiral 
Lord Jellicoe. The Dominions had not been included in the original 
invitation, and the British insistence on their inclusion brought 
about an invitation to the Irish Free State which alone paid the 
Conference the compliment of being represented by its Minister for 
Foreign Affairs. 

On their side the Americans were represented by their ambassador 
at Brussels, who presided, and by Admirals. The Japanese by an 
ex-Secretary of the Navy, Viscount Saito, by another ambassador 
and by Admirals. Wherefore of the members of the Conference 
Lord Cecil alone could claim to be a statesman of international 
standing and international standpoint. And he found himself 
relegated to the background and eventually resigned from the 
Government as a result of his experiences. In short, so far as con- 
cerned the atmosphere of its proceedings, the attitude of its 
personnel and the popular appeal it made to public opinion the 
Geneva Three-Power Disarmament Conference might have been a 


sub-committee of naval experts in any one of the intricate and 
interminable pourparlers to propose a procedure for preparing a 
protocol to provide a protection that must precede any project for 
preparing disarmament — which is the way they have at Geneva. 


As we have seen, the Washington Conference succeeded because 
it opened with an impetus that carried it to its first objective — 
limitation in capital ships — though it failed to get further. In this 
second offensive for limitation in cruisers there was no such pre- 
liminary barrage of Big Guns to break up the wire entanglements of 
the experts ; and no initial impetus. 

The opening proposal of President Coolidge was, as anticipated 
and as in principle already agreed, that competitive building should 
be for ever eliminated by extending the ratios of the Washington 
Agreement to all other classes of vessels. But no one who had 
followed the course of cruiser construction and the campaigns of 
the Navy Leagues since the Washington Conference can have 
supposed that the application of this agreed principle could be 
safely left to naval officers whose public duty and private delight 
it would be to score a technical trick or two for their country and 
to scale up, not down, the real power of their navies. 

It accordingly soon became clear that the Conference was at a 
standstill ; though why it should have stuck in so simple a task 
was anything but clear. Nor is the public clear about it to this 
day. Though anyone who takes the trouble to penetrate the 
technical entanglements of the experts and behind them the national 
entrenchments of the delegations, and analyse the real aims of either 
party, will soon see that the failure of the Conference was caused not 
only by the character of the representatives on either side, which 
made them concentrate on conflicting policies and not on the 
common purpose, but also by the absence of any coercion such as 
was supplied at Washington by the American capital ships. The 
Geneva Conference not only lost direction, but lacked driving 

We will first briefly summarize the proposals of the parties and 
then examine what was behind them. The Americans applied the 


agreed principle by extending the Washington ratio to auxiliary 
classes thus defined and delimited : — 

In thousand tons 
Cruisers to be restricted from 250 to 300 for British and Americans 

,, „ from 150 to 180 for Japanese 

Destroyers „ from 200 to 250 for British and Americans 

„ from 120 to 150 for Japanese 

Submarines „ from 60 to 90 for British and Americans 

„ „ from 36 to 54 for Japanese 

No limitation was imposed on the number or size of vessels within 
the total tonnage limitation. 

The British proposals were very technical, but may be summarized 
thus : — 

For capital ships — 

A reduction of size and armament with an extension of life for those 
already built from twenty to twenty-six years. * 
For auxiliary ships — 

A restriction of size and armament and an extension of life for all 
classes to twenty-four years for light cruisers — twenty years for 
destroyers — and fifteen years for submarines. 

An application of the 5-5-3. ratio to 10,000-ton cruisers carrying 8-inch 
guns with a limitation of their number. 

A restriction of " police " cruisers to 7,500 tons with 6-inch guns but 
without limitation of numbers by ratio. 

A division of submarines into an offensive class of 1600 tons and a defen- 
sive class of 600 tons, each with 5-inch guns, the number to be limited 
as might be agreed. Total abolition was still favoured ; but was 
considered impracticable. 

A classification of other types with a view to their limitation by classes. 

The Japanese proposals broadly speaking stereotyped the status 
quo ; further disarmament being derived from the disappearance 
of tonnage on reaching the age limit. 

These proposals were dissected and discussed all July and a pro- 
visional agreement was reached as to flotilla leaders, destroyers, and 
submarines. No agreement could be attained between the differing 
position and policies of British and Americans as to cruisers. The 
Americans remained rigidly by their right to use their total for 

1 This was practically the same proposal as that made by Lord Cushenden, on 
behalf of the British Government, for capital ships only, during the meeting of the 
Preparatory Disarmament Conference at Geneva in March, 1928, 


large cruisers. The British revolved round their requirement of an 
unlimited or at least very large number of small cruisers. 

The British did once succeed in manoeuvring Mr. Gibson into a 
concession that if the British and Japanese agreed the Americans 
might accede. And the Japanese were brought to a sort of accept- 
ance of a British plan in the nature of a very complicated com- 
promise. But as thereunder large cruisers over 10,000 tons were to 
be limited to twelve in number and the smaller were left practically 
ad lib. the Americans refused to agree. 

The Americans clung to their " simple arithmetical ratio " and 
refused resolutely to be drawn into explorations of the British 
proposals which had been worked out in respect of every kind of 
warship from battleship to submarine, with careful estimates of 
distance, range and objective [Times, 6th July, 1927). The Ameri- 
cans probably felt that in navigating through these technicalities 
the British were their masters. And the very care with which the 
British proposals had evidently been prepared was a cause of 


On examination of the respective pleadings put forward for 
public consumption, we see at once that the British had a case. 
They could plead that they had demobilized and destroyed nearly 
two million tons of war fleets, that they had 130,000 miles of sea 
commercial communications to police, that their supplies were 
wholly dependent on these communications as were those of no 
other State ; that they had surrendered supremacy in all warships 
of first and second-class fighting power ; and that the third class of 
7500-ton cruisers were no menace to peace. 

The British case did not only express the ambitions of admirals 
but also the very genuine apprehensions of the British people. These 
fears are well summarized in the speech of Mr. Bridgeman, a typical 
Englishman both in his line of thought and in his limitations [Third 
Plen. Sess., Document cmd. 2964, 1927) as follows : 

" We have stated that the geographical position of our Mother Country 
and of the Dominions must be borne in mind. We said so in accepting 
President Coolidge's invitation and we have frequently repeated that a 


number of small cruisers are of vital necessity to an Empire whose 
widely scattered parts are divided from each other by seas and oceans 
and whose most populous parts are dependent for their daily bread on 
sea-borne trade, and would perish if we failed to protect it. No doubt 
it is not easy for countries differently placed fully to realise our feelings 
in this matter. But no Briton who was at home during the war, at its 
most anxious time, will forget the feeling that the situation brought 
home to us. Month by month we found our rations of bread, meat and 
sugar and other articles being lowered, and we could see the spectre of 
starvation slowly approaching. Is it to be wondered at that every one of 
us feels that it is a duty to make what provision we can to protect ourselves 
and our children against a recurrence of such a danger." 


On the other hand the American delegate, Admiral Jones, could 
claim that the domestic ocean-going trade of the United States is 
half as much again as the whole foreign trade of Great Britain 
(Fourth of July Speech, Geneva). But, on the whole, the American 
counter-case was not so convincing ; namely, that America must 
have large cruisers of wide radius of action owing to her compara- 
tive scarcity of naval bases. 


It seemed at first sight indeed unreasonable that America should 
dictate to the British what the size and strength of their cruisers 
should be. But, if we look a little deeper into the meaning of Mr. 
Bridgeman's proposals, we find that there was some excuse for the 
American suspicion that this simple country gentleman, with his 
twinkling blue eyes and genial air, could stack the cards in his own 
favour and slip in a Joker with the best of them. His smile was 
disarming ; but his disarming went no deeper than his smile. 

The proposals he put forward accepted the principle of parity — 
for capital ships — and indeed went beyond the Conference agenda 
in proposing a further disarmament in them by extending their life 
and reducing their size and guns. But it was for the obvious reasons 
that the British had already the two most powerful capital ships 
afloat, Rodney and Nelson, and could not afford to build any more 
of these costly contraptions. His proposals only extended the 


principle of parity and limitation to large cruisers, in which the 
British were in a similar position. And having accepted this agreed 
principle in respect of large vessels, in which the British were at a 
hopeless disadvantage in a future free building competition ; and 
having made all the play possible with this concession as an economy 
of £50,000,000 to future British budgets and an extension of the 
Washington Treaty, the British proposals unobtrusively reserved 
the right of unrestricted building in the weapon of most advantage 
to themselves — light cruisers. For in this craft man-power — in 
which the British are still first — was all-important ; and money- 
power — in which they are now second — mattered less. And this 
military consideration lies behind the controversy over gun calibres. 
For the 6-inch gun is the largest calibre that can be man-handled. 
The 8-inch gun requires an expensive mechanism. 

In short, the principle underlying the British proposal for the 
further reduction in capital ships ; for the division of cruisers into 
an " offensive " class of large cruisers, to be limited in parity, and 
a " defensive " class of small cruisers of which as many as necessary 
were to be built ; for the similar subdivision of submarines and for 
the smaller gun calibre, was in all cases the same, namely, to 
counteract the superior money-power of the Americans and to 
continue commanding the sea. 

Therefore, in these " police " cruisers of 7500 tons with 6-inch 
guns the British at first allowed no limitation of numbers ; though 
later, to meet American protest, a total figure of seventy-one for all 
classes of cruisers was suggested and a total limitation of 580,000 
tons. It was in this almost unlimited fleet of effective fighting ships 
that the Americans saw a nigger in the wood pile. For certainly 
these vessels would control the trade routes in a future war ; and, 
with the larger cruisers limited in numbers, the greatest possible 
advantage would be reaped from the overwhelming number of fast 
British liners which, at a pinch, could also be armed with 6-inch 
guns and used in the further oceans, 

It was not likely that this would escape the Americans. But, in 
these Conferences, the game of an obstructive opposition is to 
manoeuvre so that if agreement is reached they still have a con- 
cealed advantage that can be disclosed and credited to them, and so 
that if an agreement is not reached the moral responsibility for 


failure will be thrown on the other side. Thus they stand to win 
either way. Also this is a game in which British politicians and 
their professional advisers are still champions of the world in the 
Geneva tournaments. 

When we look into the meaning of the American adherence to 
their position we realize that they too were playing a game — but a 
bigger one. They realized quite well that the sanction of the whole 
Conference — the driving power that alone could effect disarma- 
ment — was the potential sea supremacy of a new American navy. 
They realized that, in allowing at Washington an agreement as to 
capital ships alone, the Americans had surrendered the greater part 
of the bargaining power given them by their financial superiority, 
and that, if an agreement for limitation on a basis of parity was 
now accepted for large cruisers, leaving out cruisers of fighting 
efficiency, their bargaining power would be lost altogether. They 
also realized that, given parity and limitation in capital ships and 
large cruisers only, the British would be as well prepared in money- 
power and better provided in man-power for a naval competition 
in light cruisers. They also realized that the British had them at a 
disadvantage and were holding them under menace of a complete 
failure of the Conference which the Americans had called, but that 
if they did accept an agreement that might, in the end, be worse for 
disarmament than failure. 

This realization, combined with the excessive realization of 
responsibility felt by professional representatives with no political 
leader, explains the take-it-or-leave-it attitude of the Americans, 
as well as their rather rigid adherence to their primary position. 
This was attributed by our Press to their entourage of American 
correspondents, whose reports were generally tail twisting and some- 
times truth twisting, as well as to the Big Navy ambitions of their 
Admirals. But a certain stiffness is essential when you have your 
back to the wall and will be stood against it by your chiefs if you 
give away too much. 

When the eleventh-hour showdown came it would seem that the 
American Delegation was not unreasonable, that agreement was 
reached as to a liberal allowance of 7500-ton cruisers, and that the 
only point unsettled was whether they should carry 6-inch or 8-inch 



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It was at this point that the British Delegation were recalled to 
confer with the Cabinet. 

Lord Cecil protested ; but the Delegation was none the less 
recalled and remained ten days in London, while their colleagues 
cooled their heels in a heat-wave at Geneva. 

The proposal that the British put forward on their return was for 
a maximum of no less than 590,000 tons new construction, plus 
25 per cent, of existing tonnage, of which 120,000 tons should be in 
twelve large cruisers. This provoked an American enquiry as to why 
the British, who were ready at Washington to accept, through Lord 
Balfour, 450,000 tons for all auxiliary craft, now asked for 647,000 
tons more. Lord Balfour afterwards explained that his acceptance 
referred to " vessels auxiliary and necessary to the Battle Fleet." 
But the British contention that the Washington Treaty and parity 
covered only the battle fleets, and not the navies as a whole, is one 
of the points that most excite American annoyance. 

None the less, negotiations proceeded, and the conflict over the 
calibre of the cruiser guns could have been closed very sensibly by 
compromising on a 7-inch gun. But this was disallowed by the 
British Government 

And there still remained a more serious difference. 

The British global maximum for all auxiliaries was inacceptable 
to the Americans, not only because it seemed to them excessive, but 
because it was not classified as to ships. That is, the British might 
have spent on small cruisers what they saved on large cruisers and 
on submarines. The British, on the other hand, would not accept 
the American global maximum for cruisers because it was not 
classified as to size. That is, the Americans might have used the 
whole for ten thousand tonners which would dominate the British. 
So the Americans now proposed a procedure that gave the British 
a power of releasing themselves should the Americans take such 
action. But this also was refused by the British Government. 

The Americans thereupon made up their minds that the British 
were not meaning business. When the Japanese tried to save the 
situation at the eleventh hour with a proposal for an agreement as to 


" a naval holiday " until the expiration of the Washington Treaty 
" moratorium " in 1931, this was refused by them. And it might 
well have been misinterpreted as merely a manoeuvre to keep them 
in a position with which they were not satisfied and to prevent them 
using their money power to get out of it. 

So the Conference was closed by the Americans with a formal 
statement of the President summarizing its differences in a very fair 
and clear statement of how the Conference broke up ; which, however, 
tells us little as to why it broke down. For that we must look behind 
the controversies in the Conference and get an insight into a conflict 
that had arisen in the British Cabinet. 


The revolt of the Admiralty and of authoritative opinion in the 
ruling class against the principle of parity had been carried into 
the Conservative Cabinet. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. 
Churchill, was recognized as a recruit to this revolt when, in a speech 
at the Mansion House (12th July, 1927), he said, at a critical stage 
of the Conference : 

" I should regard it as the paramount duty of the British Exchequer, 
in priority to all other considerations, to find any money that was really 
needed to safeguard those sea-borne food supplies without which neither 
the life nor the independence of the British nation could continue." 

He thus cut the ground from under the Conference by putting the 
power of the Purse on the side of naval expenditure instead of on 
that of naval economy. The significance of this did not escape 
the Americans, who had long suspected that the British did not 
mean, and never had meant, to accept parity in sea power ; but 
only parity in the more costly mechanical weapons in which they 
could not compete with the Americans. They accordingly issued 
the following warning through the Times correspondent (5th July, 
1927) : 

" It is felt strongly in responsible quarters here that a good purpose 
will be served by the publication abroad of the following authoritative 
statement : ' The United States cannot, and will not, accept anything 
short of parity with Great Britain in all classes of ships.' The words, of 
course, are those of the man best entitled to speak from Washington for 


the United States Government, and they reflect, as they are intended to 
reflect, the surprise and displeasure — I am faithfully reporting what has 
been made known to me in the last two days — which what is considered 
here the apparent unwillingness of the British Government to concede 
full equality at sea with the United States has caused. 

" I am given to understand that, if the necessity should arise, the 
United States Government would be prepared to remind the Powers 
assembled at Geneva of what occurred at the second Plenary Session of 
the Washington Conference on November 15th, 1921. The proposals 
before that session did not refer to battleships and aeroplane carriers 
alone, but were all-inclusive. Of them Lord Balfour, for Great Britain, 
said : 

" ' We think that the proportion between the various countries is 
acceptable ; we think the limitation of amounts is reasonable ; we think 
it should be accepted ; we firmly believe that it will be accepted.' 

" Following him came Admiral Baron Kato, for Japan, 'gladly accepting 
the proposal in principle.' It is earnestly hoped at Washington that it 
may not later be found desirable to ask what, if any, change has come 
about in the relations of the principal naval Powers or in naval technique 
which would invalidate in 1927 the assurances of 1921." 

In response, Sir Austen Chamberlain, in the House of Commons, 
formally repudiated any intention of renouncing the principle of 
parity (28th July, 1927). But all the same it was not maintained. 
Mr. Churchill is a stronger man than Sir Austen ; and as this rever- 
sion of policy led to the resignation of Lord Cecil, we have a 
revelation of what happened in the Cabinet. 

We will let the British delegate, Lord Cecil, tell the story in his 
own words, as he told it to Parliament : 

" Before we set out there was a discussion in the Committee of Imperial 
Defence as to the case that we were to lay before the Conference. In 
the course of that discussion the question was raised whether we were 
to admit that the Americans were entitled to equality in cruisers on the 
same model as that which had been conceded to them in battleships. I 
certainly understood — I may have been wrong — that influential members 
of the Committee expressed the view that unless we conceded this it was 
no use going to Geneva." 

After criticizing the want of preparations he continues : 

" The Americans attached great importance to what they called 
' parity ' — that is to say, equality of auxiliary craft on the same lines as 
the equality of battleships agreed upon at Washington. The first Lord 


of the Admiralty and his advisers at Geneva saw no great objection to 
accepting the American contention on this point, and after a few days 
he made it quite clear that, though we doubted whether the American 
need for cruisers was as great as ours, we had no objection to their building 
up to our limit if they wished to do so. It was, of course, understood 
that this should be part of the agreement that we were then negotiating. 
Unfortunately this decision caused great anxiety to some of our colleagues, 
though we had in fact received express authority from the Cabinet to 
agree to it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, for instance, has since 
the breakdown of the Conference stated specifically : 

" ' Therefore we are not able now — and I hope at no future time — to 
embody in a solemn international agreement any words which would 
bind us to the principle of mathematical parity in naval strength. 
Though I do not in the least agree with him, I am quite sure that my 
right hon. friend is convinced that this warning is essential to the safety 
of this country. I am equally sure that, if persisted in, it bangs, bolts 
and bars the door against any hope of a further agreement with the 
United States on naval armaments.' 

" My right hon. friend is a very forceful personality and I have no 
doubt that from the moment that he realised that we had at Geneva 
agreed to what he calls the principle of mathematical parity — that is 
to say, that we had extended to cruisers the standard accepted for 
battleships — he began to press on his colleagues the necessity of avoiding 
the consequences of what he regarded as a disastrous concession. 

" Accordingly we began to receive telegrams which seemed to indicate 
that the Cabinet were dissatisfied. At last they culminated in a request 
to us to return home for consultation. We pointed out that such a 
proceeding would be very bad for the success of the negotiations, and for 
the time being we were allowed to remain." 

He then reviews the negotiations as to cruisers and guns and 
continues : 

" I was very much disturbed. Agreement seemed to me to be in sight, 
and I felt that if there were to be an adjournment for some days it was only 
too likely that the opportunity would pass. However, the wording of 
the summons left us no alternative but to obey. When we got home we 
found, as I have already intimated, that certain members of the Cabinet 
strongly took the view afterwards expressed in public by the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer. They thought that it would be most dangerous to 
have stated in the Treaty that the Americans were entitled to mathema- 
tical parity in auxiliary vessels. These Ministers clearly intimated that 
they preferred no agreement to one embodying that principle. 

" It was to meet these views that the Cabinet decided, against my 


opinion, to make the statement read in both Houses of Parliament 
reserving, in effect, full liberty of action to this country on the question 
of parity at the end of any period for which an agreement might be 
made. I objected on the ground that it was unnecessary and likely to 
increase the difficulties of negotiations. Beyond that the Cabinet 
decided that we were to continue the negotiations broadly on the lines 
theretofore adopted. 

" There was a second meeting of the Cabinet to complete our instruc- 
tions, and it was at this meeting that the question of whether we should 
insist on the 6-inch gun came up for decision. Between the two meetings 
of the Cabinet telegrams had come from America indicating that the 
United States attached vital importance to the retention of the right to 
put 8-inch guns in any cruiser. I confess that the American attitude on 
this question seemed to me to be entirely wrong and the reasons advanced 
for it quite unconvincing. But it also seemed to me madness to allow 
the negotiations to break down on such a point. It was therefore with 
amazement that I heard the majority of my colleagues decide to insist 
on a 6-inch gun, even if it meant the breakdown of the negotiations. 
It was evident to me that such a decision could only be come to by men 
who took a very different view of the importance of an agreement with the 
United States on this matter from that which I did. Accordingly I 
immediately suggested to my colleagues that they should send someone 
else to Geneva in my place. When it was pointed out that such a change 
in the middle of negotiations would remove the last chance of success, 
I told them that I would return with Mr. Bridgeman, but that if the 
negotiations failed on this point about the guns, as I felt sure they would, 
I must reserve my full liberty to resign, or words to that effect. 

" We returned to Geneva. As soon as we arrived there it became clear 
that without a compromise on the 8-inch gun question there was no hope 
of agreement, and I personally so informed the Cabinet. At the same time 
we suggested, as a possible way out of the difficulty, the adoption of a 
7-inch gun. In reply we received a telegram rejecting this suggestion 
and telling us in so many words that we were not to offer any compromise 
on the 8-inch gun. A day or two later the Americans put forward the 
suggestion that, if any party so utilised its rights under the Treaty as 
to cause anxiety to another party, a conference might be held and, if 
no agreement were come to, the Treaty should terminate. We were 
anxious to reply by giving to this suggestion a more specific reference 
to the 8-inch gun. The effect would have been to postpone the decision 
of the question until the Americans actually decided to arm the secondary 
cruisers with 8-inch guns. This also the Government rejected. The 
Conference consequently broke down." (Hansard, Vol. 69, No. 71, 
pp. 91-94.) 


The villain of the piece was, therefore, Mr. Winston Churchill. As 
Chancellor of the Exchequer he was pre-eminently responsible for 
economy ; and, as poacher turned gamekeeper, he has not been 
unsuccessful. But two years in the heavy gold embroidered robes 
of the Chancellor have not quelled his ebullient military enthusiasms. 
He can still play at being a Napoleon or a Nelson and he is still, at 
the most awkward moments, the enfant terrible who can imagine 
his nursery table is the world, only that now he imagines the world 
is his nursery table. 

Here we have an example of that myopic meglomania peculiar 
to crowned heads and Conservative henchmen who have lived all 
their lives in the exercise of arbitrary authority. We see it, for 
example, in the attitude of George III towards the American 
colonists in those private letters and memoranda just published by 
Sir John Fortescue. The same complete concentration on a narrow 
and naif point of view ; patriotic, no doubt, though hopelessly 
prejudiced. But George was half a German. There is less excuse 
for Mr. Churchill, who is half an American. He could be the man of 
the moment if only he would devote his great capacities and strong 
character to a restoration of relations between the two peoples, and 
to a reconstruction of British policy more in relation to the require- 
ments of the present day. But so far he has been about as enlightened 
in this matter as one of the " King's Friends " of the eighteenth 

Because that point of view was in power the British in the eighteenth 
century lost their association with Americans within one Imperial 
Federation. If that point of view persists much longer it will ruin 
any chance in this twentieth century of an association between 
Britain and America in any international confederation. 

If Mr. Churchill was the villain — the victim was Lord Cecil ; and 
close on the collapse of the Conference there followed the resignation 
from the Conservative Government of its " Minister for International 
Affairs," and the statement as to the reason for this resignation 
reproduced above. Its punctilious phraseology cannot conceal 
the indignation of this most clear-sighted and cool-headed of 

Lord Cecil has given his whole time and great talents to the 
League. But he is too good a statesman not to see that the interest 


of his country and of civilization can be sought at sea in an associa- 
tion with the United States that is in no way competitive with the 
League and may be made co-operative with it. Yet, even the ex- 
Minister of Blockade apparently still fails to see the real significance 
of the events in which he played so prominent a part. The Noble 
Lord tries to lay all the blame on the Big Navy advocates in both 
countries and their political and industrial supporters. The inner 
history of the Geneva Conference has only been exposed in part as 
the result of his resignation. And what the British and American 
publics and the rest of the world are told is that the reason for the 
breakdown was this demand of the Admiralty for seventy-one cruisers, 
and the American insistence on arming their quota of ships with 
8-inch guns instead of 6-inch guns. 


Yet this bickering about the calibre of guns and the number of 
minor war vessels is not the real cause of the trouble. Nor is it even 
the insistence of the Americans ona" mathematical parity," and 
our British insistence on what we will call a " metaphysical parity." 
We have to find something more fundamental to account for the 
war clouds that have darkened the sky, ever since, on both sides of 
the Atlantic. 

That fundamental cause of failure will be found, we suggest, in 
these two facts ; that Great Britain, realizing that she had lost 
command of the sea at Washington in terms of battleships, was 
trying to recover it in terms of cruisers ; and that America, realizing 
that she had lost Freedom of the Seas at Versailles by a deficiency 
in moral power, was trying to restore it to the peace terms by a 
dominance of money-power. Great Britain, unfortunately failing 
to see that the two aims were not antagonistic, frustrated the 
American effort for the second time. President Coolidge thus 
reported in his message to Congress (6th December, 1927) — 

" We were granted much co-operation by Japan — but we were unable 
to come to an agreement with Great Britain." 

And if co-operation between British and Americans had thus 
failed, it was we British who broke it down and we British who must 
build it up again. 


It is to be hoped, however, that the next American President will 
try again before the fatal date of 1931 when the progress " pegged " 
by the Washington Treaty will be again put in question. And it is 
to be hoped that there will then be a British Government who will 
loyally co-operate with America in making a peace of the seas. 
Both sides are sadder and wiser for the Geneva failure. One lesson, 
let us hope, is at least learnt for good and all. Clemenceau, at a 
crisis of the war, is reported as saying : " This war is too serious to 
be left to the Generals." Let Washington and London on the next 
occasion of a naval disarmament Conference say — " This peace is 
too serious to be left to the Admirals." 


Since the Geneva Conference the Americans have made one more 
move that need not be opposed by even the bluest of the Blue- water 
School that has made Whitehall its quarter-deck. For Mr. Secretary 
Kellogg in February 1928, announced that the — 

44 United States Government would be prepared to sign a Treaty with 
all the powers of the world, prohibiting the use of submarines entirely." 

And this might possibly be made a step towards that much larger 
disarmament between England and America that we have in mind. 

For the position now is that the two leading naval and commercial 
powers are agreed that, in the interests of humanity and peace, the 
submarine should be declared illegal. 

Submarines are not only horrible in war — in the last they drowned 
thousands of non-combatants — but they occasionally horrify us 
all in peace by cruelly drowning their crews. And as commerce 
destroyers they are the worst menace to Freedom of the Seas. A 
half-hearted attempt was made by the British Delegation at the 
Paris Peace Conference to extend the inhibition on building sub- 
marines, imposed on Germany, to the rest of the world. Unsuccessful 
then, it was renewed again by the British delegates at the 
Washington Conference of 192 1, when they proposed " the total and 
final abolition of the submarine." But, after two days' debate, 
Lord Balfour found that the British proposal would not then get 
American support. A compromise was all that could be got ; and 
in the annex to the Washington Treaty the five signatory Powers 


recognized the inherent barbarity of the submarine as a commerce 
destroyer. The following Art. IV of Chapter III of the miscellaneous 
provisions of the Treaty was signed by France's representatives, with 
the delegates of the other four naval Powers, but never ratified by 
the French Government. 

" The Signatory Powers recognise the practical impossibility of using 
submarines as commerce destroyers without violating, as they were 
violated in the recent war of 1914-1918, the requirements universally 
accepted by civilised nations for the protection of the lives of neutrals 
and non-combatants, and to the end that the prohibition of the use of 
submarines as commerce destroyers shall be universally accepted as a 
part of the law of nations, they now accept that prohibition as henceforth 
binding as between themselves and they invite all other nations to 
adhere thereto." 


This is simply a return to and re-statement of the old rules regulat- 
ing the rights of belligerents in sailing-ship days — namely, that a 
merchant vessel must be summoned to stop and searched or sent to 
port before she could be seized, that she must not be attacked unless 
refusing or resisting, and that she must not be sunk until the passen- 
gers and crew had been placed in safety. These rules, if rigorously 
respected by a belligerent, would practically prevent their submarines 
from acting as cruisers for the control of commerce. This the Germans 
found out very soon in the last war, and Admiral von Scheer refused 
even to allow the submarines under his command to act against 
merchant ships when, in deference to American pressure, they were 
ordered to observe these rules by the German High Command. The 
proposed rules only come into force when ratified by all the signa- 
tories, and France has never ratified them ; so that they are not 
worth the paper they are written on. Furthermore, they have been 
strongly attacked in the French press and by French jurists and 
naval experts. 

France and Italy as secondary sea Powers were then, and still are, 
obstinately opposed to a renunciation or even to any restriction of 
submarine warfare. In this they would be supported by other 
minor sea powers ; and any regulation of the submarine through any 
organization of the League is consequently most improbable. 

The British interest both as a naval and as a neutral Power is to 
restrict or remove this menace to Freedom of the Seas as far as is 


practically possible. The British policy was stated by the First 
Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. Bridgeman, in his opening speech at 
the Geneva Conference : 

" Great Britain has not changed her mind since the Washington 
Conference of 1921, when her delegates expressed their willingness to 
agree to the discontinuance of submarines in warfare, but they recognise 
that Powers which possess fewer of the larger vessels of war regard the 
possession of submarines as a valuable weapon of defence." 

He then went on to propose a compromise such as might be calculated 
to conciliate French opposition, or at least, to counteract to some 
extent the menace of French submarine construction — namely, an 
artificial restriction of the size of submarines in the future and their 
division into a " defensive " class to be permitted, and an " offen- 
sive " class to be prohibited. But this sort of diplomatizing will 
never achieve a reform that requires the directness and driving 
power of a popular appeal. 

Mr. Kellogg is right in going for straight prohibition. The alliance 
between humanitarian pacifism and professional sailors of the old 
school, both equally disliking this novel and cruel weapon, would 
create a strong body of public opinion. If the prohibition were 
adopted by the three leading Sea Powers, it might be practically 
imposed on the secondary Sea Powers, much as the prohibition of 
privateering was imposed on them. 

There is, of course, a difference. Privateering was obsolete when 
it was prohibited ; and in its modern form — the employment of 
merchant steamers as auxiliary cruisers under commission — it 
still survives. Submarines are a novel weapon of great power and 
potentiality that have revolutionized sea warfare. The prohibition 
of revolutions of any sort is unsound, wherefore it would be inadvis- 
able to make this prohibition a principle of a new international 
law of the sea. For principles of law must not run counter to 
progress, even when progress is unpleasant. But policy is a different 
thing ; and policy as we have shown, is the basis of international 
law, rather than principle. Such a policy would have moreover the 
same moral basis as the prohibition of privateering. Privateering 
was odious to the mercantile communities, like the British, because 
it arose out of reprisals and easily relapsed into piracy. Submarine 
commerce destiuction also arises out of reprisals and has all the 


inhuman features of piracy. It is now associated in the public mind 
with that age-long enemy of Freedom of the Seas. And it is for this 
reason that Germany is more resigned to this restriction of the Peace 
Treaty than to any other. 

An agreement of Americans and British to prohibit the use of the 
submarine might well be a first step towards their association for 
Freedom of the Seas. If supported, as is probable, by the Japanese 
it might even be possible to secure the adhesion of secondary sea 
Powers who now rely on the submarine as their principal 
naval weapon. And even if such adhesion were withheld, the 
command of the seas enjoyed by the " Armed Neutrality " of the 
British and American navies would ensure the Freedom of the Seas 
from destruction of neutral commerce by belligerent submarines. 

If, on the other hand, Britain and America remain apart, not only 
can nothing be done to restrict submarines as we wish, but, as 
American sea power becomes superior to British, the British will 
compete, not in cruisers, already a semi-obsolete weapon, but in 
submarines, the weapon of the poorer power. And that is a prospect 
which will appeal as little to British sailors as it will to American 


We have pointed out that the use of aeroplanes against merchant 
ships in some future war may be as great a surprise as was the use of 
submarines in the last war — a danger that appears to have been too 
much overlooked. At the Washington Naval Conference an exhaus- 
tive examination was made of the air strengths of the Five Powers 
invited, and a highly expert committee, including Major-General 
Mason Patrick of the United States Air Service and Air Vice-Marshal 
Higgins of the Royal Air Force, was set up. 

The proposal made at Washington by the Italian delegate that 
some limit might be agreed upon as to the number of pilots in the 
permanent military establishments was a practical proposal. 

But the Committee very sensibly decided that it would be im- 
practicable to set effective limits on the air strength of the five 
Powers or of other nations. For this can only be done by limiting 
the growth and development of civil aviation which would be both 


reactionary and unrealizable. The submarine has at present mainly 
a military purpose. But the aeroplane has civil and commercial 
possibilities closely bound up with the progress of civilization. 
Restrictions based on the non-subsidization of commercial aviation 
companies by governments, the limitation of the appropriations for 
air weapons in the national budgets of the countries concerned, and 
the like, could be easily evaded and would be, in any case, useless. 

The German Air Force is rigidly proscribed under the Treaty of 
Versailles. But the impossibility of prohibiting civil aviation in 
Germany was recognized, and that country leads the world to-day in 
civil aviation and could lead it to-morrow in military aviation. 
For it is recognized by every military general staff in the world that 
Germany, with a great number of trained pilots, and artificers, with 
the national u air sense " of her people, and with well-found and 
flourishing aircraft factories, could rearm in the air in a very short 

There is, therefore, no possibility or purpose in prohibiting or 
restricting the construction or operations of military aeroplanes 
as a principle of international law. But again, as in the case of the 
submarine, policy is a different matter. There is nothing to prevent 
Great Britain and America enlarging their declaration with regard 
to the use of submarines against merchant shipping to aeroplanes, 
seaplanes, dirigible balloons and other flying machines ; and 
solemnly agreeing neither to use their aircraft against mercantile 
shipping when belligerent, nor to allow of their being used against 
their own when neutral. 


The full gravity of the failure of the Geneva Conference was not 
at the time, and still is not, realized by the British governing class. 
With some exceptions, the Civil Service, the City, the Clubs, the 
Foreign office and Admiralty, the coteries and cliques, all regarded 
it as merely one more disarmament pow-wow for the benefit of party 
politics that had come to its proper and preordained conclusion. 
For, almost every year, and sometimes twice in a twelve-month, 
there assembles in the finest Swiss scenery and in the most comfort- 
able of continental cities some Committee or Commission or Council 


of the League for the discussion of disarmament. In these peaceful 
surroundings the experts bicker about security and sanctions, 
entangle themselves endlessly in technicalities as to military and 
naval armaments, and try to trick each other in negotiations that are 
seeking, not disarmament, but military advantage. Nothing is ever 
done, nothing is ever even said, of serious consequence ; except when 
some Russian envoy, whose presence is regarded with mixed curiosity 
and resentment, has the bad taste to talk as though disarmament 
were really under discussion. These discussions serve no more 
useful purpose than in providing perorations for speeches showing 
how peace is being prosecuted on the most patriotic lines, or pretexts 
for an expenditure on armaments greater (in present day values) than 
before the war. 

And this Geneva Naval Conference was confused, naturally 
enough, by British opinion with one of those pleasant little conversa- 
ziones of the League. The Labour Press and Party protested at 
British policy and pointed our the probable consequences. But the 
ruling class are either indifferent to or ignorant of Labour opinion ; 
and the British public has not yet realized the meaning of the shift 
in sea power since the war. Nevertheless British public opinion was, 
for the moment, distressed at the failure of the Conference. Even 
the Nationalist Daily Mail wrote : 

" Men and women who realise the paramount importance of maintaining 
peace are beginning to look to other political leaders for the initiative 
and guidance which the present Conservative Government has so signally 
failed to supply." 

" The Moving Finger writes ; and, having writ, 
Moves on. Nor all thy Piety nor Wit 
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, 
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." 

Certainly no shedding of tears, nor even the dropping of three light 
cruisers has been able as yet to restore the British relations with 
Americans. But the writing on the wall of the most moving finger 
of the hidden hand may possibly portend the end of a decadent 



In America the effect was very different. There, the failure of the 
Conference made many previous pacifists rally to the ranks of the 
Big Navy movement. For it looked as though agreement with the 
British was hopeless and as if the best guarantee of peace was a 
powerful American fleet. 

We are now faced with a set purpose in America to deprive us 
of our naval command of the sea ; and we cannot prevent it. 
But we are also faced with the prospect that America will set about 
the far more difficult task of depriving us of our carrying trade. 
The building up of a mercantile marine in competition with the 
British is a costly and difficult undertaking. But the Germans did 
it before the Great War ; so did the Americans before the Civil War ; 
and both were crowding us seriously when their competition was 
ended by war. The present handicap on American carrying competi- 
tion is artificial and can be ended if the country wishes. That it 
may so wish is evident from the following statement as to a Bill for 
making a mercantile marine by a " Democratic Leader " and 
Senator " devoted to the cause of Anglo-American friendship." 
(Times, 2nd February, 1928) : 

" For me (said this Senator), the passage of this measure is ultimately 
and inseparably connected with the failure of Great Britain and the 
United States to reach a naval agreement at Geneva. 

" I believe supremacy at sea should be held neither by Great Britain 
nor by ourselves — either would be too provocative and too dangerous. 
I believe there should be, and still hope there will be, an agreement 
embodying reasonable and effective naval equality, but I know it will 
never be reached while we leave the arrangement of it to debating teams 
rather than negotiators. 

"lam one of those who believe with old John Randolph of Roankeo 
that the American is a land animal. It still seems to me that if he is to 
have a merchant marine he will have to secure it by deliberate manufac- 
ture, and not by the operation of normal processes. Personally, I do not 
like this manufacture, but it seems to me that Great Britain is leaving 
us no choice. Unless the two countries can get together, the United 
States must have not only a Navy fully equal to the British but a merchant 


marine capable of carrying every ton of American goods. A sufficient 
proportion of such ships, moreover, should be speedy vessels able to carry 
6-inch guns." 

And if responsible and friendly statesmen thus expressed them- 
selves, the popular press in American did not mince matters. Indeed, 
on Navy Day (28th October, 1927) there was what appeared to be a 
concerted outburst in a number of leading American papers in sup- 
port of the proposed new Armada. We will give extracts from 
two of these. The Washington Post expressed itself editorially as 
follows : 

" The United States is entitled to an absolutely free field for foreign 
commerce. When foreign Powers are at war the United States has a 
right to remain neutral and carry on neutral commerce without inter- 
ference. It must have a Navy sufficiently strong to enforce its neutral 
rights. Its flag becomes a despised rag, if its people do not keep it 
inviolable upon every sea." 

And later : 

" War between Great Britain and other foreign Powers under modern 
conditions would either compel the United States to enter the war on 
one side or see its neutral commerce swept away." 

The New York Herald-Tribune, after making out a case for the 
building of sufficient 10,000-ton cruisers to bring the American Navy 
up to numerical parity with the British Navy, summed up the case 
as follows : 

" We need a Navy competent to protect our enormous commerce, our 
merchant marine and our sea communications. We have no such Navy 
now. But we can have it if we want it. We are free to build it. And 
we are certainly rich enough to do it." 

If the Big Navy boosters can blow their trumpet like any Roland, 
the British Navy League can give them an Oliver. We need only 
cite and shall not quote that Navy League pamphlet — 

" Nelson gave us the command of the Sea over a century ago. Are 
we going to keep it ? " 



The trouble is that we shall have to pay for it. No one is going 
to give it us gratis. The American naval estimates for 1928 as first 
introduced, provided for an expenditure of £145,000,000 for a cruiser 
fleet of forty-three vessels, and for over seventy new warships in 
all, the same number asked for by our admiralty at Geneva. As 
Mr. Wilbur said (nth January, 1928) : " America needs a first-class 
Navy," and he went on to explain that these forty-three cruisers 
would consist of twenty-five 10,000 tonners, with 8-inch guns, in 
addition to the eight already provided, and ten 7500-ton cruisers. 
Five new aircraft carriers were also included and a total cruiser 
tonnage of 600,000 tons was contemplated, just double the maximum 
proposed at Geneva. He concluded : 

" This programme of twenty-five cruisers, five aircraft carriers, nine 
destroyer leaders and thirty-two submarines is in no way competitive, 
but is based on the*needs of the United States Navy as determined by 
technical advice." 

Which contrasts painfully with the statement of Mr. French, Chair- 
man of the House Naval Committee, only a year earlier, but 
before the Geneva Conference, on presenting the previous naval 

" The people of Great Britain depend, and must depend, on the outside 
world. Their dependency is for food, clothing, structural material, fuel 
and fuel oil. Great Britain must maintain open to its ships the lanes of 
the sea. To do this Great Britain must have naval bases ; and, 
more than the United States, is in need of types of ships such as 


The difference between these two positions is the measure of the 
distance that the two people diverged in those disastrous weeks at 
Geneva. Happily, some of that distance has now been retraced. 
The British Government, by dropping the construction of two 
cruisers, and then a third, made the first move to make good 


the damage it had done. The Americans have now responded, 
as we may always rely on them to respond to any generous 

The tremendous construction programme outlined above, and the 
insistence of the Naval Affairs Committee that this construction 
should be undertaken to a time limit, had rallied economist and 
pacifist opinion in America to the support of President Coolidge. 
The war dope in the Press had, for once, been overdone and the 
public stomach rejected it. The Secretary of the Navy put up a 
spirited fight. He pointed out that the total cost was only half the 
annual expenditure of American women on cosmetics. " There 
are times," he said, " when gunpowder is worth more than face 
powder." But nowadays men and women find face-powder on the 
whole less disfiguring For, after heated debates in the Naval Affairs 
Committee of the House and much hard lobbying, the Moderates 
won a signal success (23rd February, 1928). The programme, as it 
will be reported out, and as it will probably be passed by the House, 
has been considerably cut down. The ten-thousand ton cruisers are 
reduced from twenty-five to fifteen, and the aircraft carriers from 
five to one ; the destroyers are left at the twelve authorized under 
the 1 91 6 programme, and all but two submarines are dropped. The 
total expenditure is reduced from £145,000,000 to £54,000,000. The 
new vessels are to be laid down in three years (aircraft carriers in 
two) and completed in six. But an even more promising provision 
is that that Bill, as ultimately reported to Congress, will contain a 
provision as follows : 

" In the event of an agreement for the further limitation of naval 
armament by an international conference to which the United States is 
a signatory, the President is hereby authorized and empowered to suspend, 
in whole or in part, any of the naval construction authorized in this 

It will be observed that this discretionary power is allowed to the 
President only if a limitation agreement is reached ; not, as originally 
suggested, at the mere calling of a conference. This represents 
a compromise between those who would have placed no bounds 
on the Executive's discretion and those who believed that power 
to suspend building should be reserved to Congress. It will be 
attacked both in the House and in the Senate, but there is little 


reason to doubt it will be passed in a form substantially as given 
above. 1 

So there we have the response to our overture and an opening for a 
further reconciliation. No one can say that the British Government 
have not got good value for the cruisers dropped. But it is a drop 
in the Atlantic ocean compared to the value they could get if they 
followed up the policy of co-operation outlined in the next chapter. 


One of the causes of the naval differences that we have described 
between the English and American peoples, and of their political 
divergence, is the lack of understanding of each other's points of 
view. This is particularly the case with England where, as has 
always been the case, notably in the Civil War, there is a totally 
false conception of the mental make-up of America among the 
British governing class. The explanation is easy. Many more 
Americans visit England than English people visit America. For 
though English business men perforce go to the United States, though 
a few diplomats and journalists are perfunctorily employed at 

1 The American Naval Estimates for 1929 amount to over ^74,000,000 as re- 
ported to Congress, with the observation that " all indications point to an 
appreciable and immediate upward trend." 

The vessels in commission in 1929 are given in the Estimates as follows : — 

First Line. 

Battleships, 16 ; light cruisers, 10 ; aircraft carriers, 2 ; destroyers, 103 ; sub- 
marines, 46 ; fleet submarines, 5. 

Second Line. 

Cruisers, 2 ; light cruisers, 3 ; aircraft carriers, 1 ; mine-layers, 2 ; submarines, 29. 

To this must be added 6 light mine-layers, 19 patrol vessels, and 74 auxiliaries, 
making a grand total of 318 vessels. The strength of the needed personnel is 
estimated as : Active officers (line, staff and warrant), 8,745 '> midshipmen, 1,746 ; 
retired officers, 1,690 ; enlisted men, 83,250 ; enlisted men retired, 1,498 ; nurses, 
525 — a total of 97,454. 

As to aircraft, a five year programme was approved in June, 1926, intended by 
annual increments to provide the Navy with 1,000 " useful aeroplanes ". At that 
time the Navy possessed 351 craft. The progress made is as follows: July 1st, 
1926, aeroplanes, 468 ; July 1st, 1927, 705 aeroplanes ; July 1st, 1928, 750 aero- 
planes ; while the number for July 1st, 1929, is estimated at 783. 

Two more airships are planned each two and a half times the size of the 
Los Angeles, with a maximum cruising radius of 11,200 nautical miles, 782 ft. long 
and 132 ft. deep, designed to carry a crew of 16 officers and 45 men, and a 
maximum speed of 75 knots. 


Washington ; though there is a profitable pilgrim's progress of 
academic lecturers and Anglo-American propagandists whose pulpit 
or postprandial oratory probably does more harm than good, 
and though American public and private hospitality to British 
visitors is unbounded — yet there is in America nothing that makes 
the same sort of appeal to the British that England makes to 

The English are great travellers ; but they have an extensive 
Empire, and most of those who go abroad for a living make their 
way to the Dominions or to Asiatic and African dependencies. 
The British who go to the United States go there to become citizens 
of that country. The middle-class British families who holiday 
abroad rarely go to America. In Switzerland, France, Belgium, 
Italy, and North Africa they are patrons ; in America they would 
be little better than paupers. 

Very few British politicians of Cabinet rank visit America. Lord 
Balfour has gone there on diplomatic business more than once with the 
happiest results — the last occasion being the Washington Conference. 
The present Prime Minister paid a short visit to America in connec- 
tion with the debt settlement, with less happy results. Two ex-Prime 
Ministers, Mr. Lloyd Goerge and Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, have paid 
short visits. Whereas, on the other hand, there is a continual 
coming and going between England and Europe of politicians, 
diplomatists and journalists in connection with the League Councils 
and Committees, international conferences or national ceremonies. 
There is far more contact between British statesmen and Germans, 
or Frenchmen than there is between British statesmen and 


And the consequences have been as inevitable as invidious. 
They affect not only the democratic relationship between the two 
peoples in the region of public opinion, but even the diplomatic 
relations between the two Governments. Twice in referring in 
Parliament to the unfortunate breakdown of the Geneva Naval 
Conference the British Foreign Secretary, who is in the best position 
to judge, has admitted, frankly enough, that there was not enough 


of what he called diplomatic preparation beforehand. Yet an 
American Admiral had specially visited London before the Confer- 
ence, and the ordinary diplomatic machinery was working with more 
than usual efficiency. Which suggests that there is now a new 
diplomatic channel and democratic contract in the Canadian diplo- 
matic representative and his staff at Washington. The Canadians 
are close to the Americans geographically and cannot fail to under- 
stand their point of view. Canada is a bond for peace between 
Britain and America, and her mission in Washington might become 
a bridge to political confidence and co-operation. We might indeed 
do worse than persuade the Canadian Government to release an 
important citizen of that Dominion to represent England and the 
Empire at Washington when next there is a vacancy at the British 
Embassy and to let the Foreign Office be represented by an official 
who would be junior to the Canadian representative. 

The proposal may seem a revolution in the British Diplomatic 
Service. But there are political regions in which moral revolutions 
are required ; and though the Canadian envoy might lack somewhat 
in diplomatic experience, he would have a certain esoteric election 
for dealing with " domestic matters " and the Monroe doctrine. 
But no machinery, special or ordinary, can replace a " liaison " 
between two countries. It cannot create a real link between two 
peoples, or give them a real lead into closer co-operation and mutual 
confidence. And this lead has been lacking owing to a want of per- 
sonal contact between American and British public men and to a 
lack of courage and candour among politicians on both sides, but 
especially on this side. 


The public pronouncements of British statesmen are only too 
often verbose concealments of their real views. To get at what they 
really thought and wanted we have to wait for the publication of 
personal memoirs and diaries ; unless such a cataclysm as the late 
war brings to the surface buried treasures of truth in colourful 
eruption of White Books, Yellow Books, Red Books, and Green 

For example, the Diary of the late Field-Marshal Sir Henry 


Wilson, published in 1927, stands for what is, we fear, the typical 
British official view of the late President Wilson and the policy he 
stood for at the Peace Conference and before it. Compare this 
candid soldier's posthumous private diary and what his personal ' 
friends and — unfortunately enough — his political followers in the 
British Cabinet were publically saying in Parliament and at the 
Peace Conference on the same subject. 

The British people and their governing class consequently have 
never really understood the American attitude towards naval and 
maritime matters. 

Thus, despite Sir Austen Chamberlain's doubts about our 
capabilities to assist in applying League of Nations sanctions, we 
have the British clinging, for their own purposes, to their weapon 
of economic pressure exercised at sea which served them in such 
good stead in the Napoleonic and Colonial wars, and which all but 
a few believe was their great stand-by in the last war — oblivious of 
the fact that the economic pressure on Germany and her Allies was 
only made possible by unusual circumstances and through the large 
number of powerful nations engaged as belligerents and the weakness 
of the few neutrals. 

After a Command of the Seas for three centuries, that has brought 
them not only security but supremacy, the British people can 
scarcely be expected without education in the new factors to accept, 
after less than a decade, the theoretical safeguards of the Covenant 
of the League of Nations as a substitute for that sea power ; while 
the Americans equally cannot be expected to give up without con- 
cession that Freedom of the Seas which is now within their grasp 
at a cost that is of little consideration in comparison to the cause 
at stake. 

It is childish for the British Government to suppose for an instant 
that America will not in the end build to secure cruiser-command 
because two light cruisers were dropped out of the British pro- 
gramme last year and one cruiser this year when fifteen cruisers 
of the new type have been already built, or laid down. 

Leaving out the ships that will become obsolete and be scrapped 
by 1934, and supposing that the new and revised American pro- 
gramme is put in hand by then, and that the British programme 
continues at the same rate as during the previous seven or eight 



years, the British and American fleets will then be about equal in 
strength. 1 If relations between the two countries were as they were 
in the days of comradeship and confidence of 1917-18, or even if 
they were still as they were before the War when the American 
fleet did not enter into the war plans and calculations of the British 
Cabinet and naval staff, there would be no cause for alarm and 


Unfortunately British public opinion has been schooled into 
looking upon one or other neighbouring nation as the bogey-man. 
And when this propaganda has gone on for some time and the 
batteries of war are sufficiently charged with electricity, some 
trivial incident like the throwing of a cargo of tea into Boston 
Harbour or the shooting of an Austrian Prince in a Balkan town, 
short-circuits the diplomatic wires and electrocutes some thousands 
or millions of mankind. America is now replacing Russia as the 
Britishers' bogey-man. One man may steal our horse with 

1 Comparative post-Washington Programmes of Cruiser Construction. 

The following table shows the totals of cruisers built, building, and projected 
for the two countries during the coming seven years, so far as can be ascertained 
from the present programmes and plans on either side : 

United States. 

Great Britain. 
























































From the above, it will be seen how the position may be altered by whatever is 
done in the year 1 931 in Great Britain. If the three ships recently postponed were 
put in hand then, and no addition had meanwhile been made to the American pro- 
gramme, each Power would have 23 post- Washington vessels ready for service. 
Numerically, this would be parity, but actually the United States would have a 
superiority, as about six of the British cruisers would be of the smaller 8,400-ton 
type, although armed with 8-inch guns. 

In classes built or designed during the War, Great Britain has a surplus in 
numbers which is rapidly diminishing owing to obsolescence, and will all but have 
disappeared by the time the programme summarized above has materialized. 


impunity ; but if the bogey-man looks over the hedge we at once 
shout " stop thief." 

Let us take one example. For some years the British Press 
has contained interesting and detailed accounts of the gradual 
mechanisation of the British Army. There is nothing in this 
mechanisation except the growing dawn-light in the military mind 
that for modern warfare petrol and steel are more effective than 
horse-flesh. Spur-jingling, sabre-rattling generals have long ridden 
in motor-cars ; and they are at last learning that infantry, guns, 
and even cavalry can be moved by motor quicker than by marching 
or by mules. Some three years after an entire Division of the 
British Army had been mechanised the small United States Army 
proposed to follow suit. And look at the effect produced on an 
important section of the British Press, already made jumpy by the 
American shipbuilding programme. The most powerful group of 
newspapers in England is that owned by the Brothers Berry, and 
its power is explained by its success in expressing a popular and 
non-partisan point of view. Yet as soon as this unimportant 
piece of news had crossed the Atlantic the leading Sunday 
newspaper of the Berry group came out with the following glaring 
headlines : 





This was illustrated by an excellent photograph of British Tommies, 
complete with steel helmets, practising with Maxim guns. Then 
came the following extracts from this " big story " of the week : 

" Sweeping changes are to be made in the United States Army which is 
to be mechanised at once. This decision, following her big warship 
programme, is likely to cause a diplomatic sensation. 

There followed some details, which no soldier would find in any 
way extraordinary or significant, and then this : 

" British Reply. Our own military authorities are alive to these 
changes. Both infantry and cavalry of the British Army are to strengthen 
their machine-gun sections this year." 


Can you beat it ? as our American friends say — and we hope they 
won't try. 

Anyone with any military knowledge at all knows perfectly well 
that the present American Army, like the present British Army, is 
a professional army, purely and simply for use as an internal or 
imperial police at home or abroad. No organization for an American 
Expeditionary Force is in existence ; and even the small British 
Expeditionary Force, organized with such a dubious secrecy and 
such doubtful strategy and for the purpose of fighting on the left 
wing of the French armies in the last war, has been broken up. The 
possibility of the present British or American armies fighting each 
other, or indeed affecting the strategical position as between England 
and America, does not exist. If the two countries contemplate a 
conflict they must organize a mass mobilization of the resources 
of the Empire and of the Union and strategic schemes for war in 
two hemispheres. Of course, they have not done so and will not 
do so. Yet to such a dangerous pass have the two peoples been 
brought that the decision of the United States Army authorities 
to supply extra machine-guns to their meagre battalions and 
squadrons is referred to as a diplomatic sensation ! 

Nor is the Press to blame. The Press cultivates the mood of the 
moment rather than creates it. It is the subtle and sinister influence 
of naval, military, and air force reviews, pageants, displays and 
tattoos, all deliberately aimed at showing an imaginary romantic 
surface of war and at hiding its miseries and bestialities that gives 
most cause for complaint. 

The present British Government is directly associated in making 
thirty-two " feature " films all designed, more or less, to glorify 
war and armaments. Loans of warships, soldiers, artillery, tanks, 
aeroplanes, have been made by the military departments, at the 
very time when they are crying out that they have not enough 
money to carry out the necessary trainings, drills, and practices. 


The Press and public opinion of a country look on their neighbours 
as friends or foes just as their rulers and ruling class may ordain. 
They can be made to change front with remarkable rapidity. In the 


lifetime of most of us we can remember many such reorientations. 
Early in the century France and Russia were the enemy. The 
British built to the Two-Power standard ; and mobilized the fleet 
against France over the Fashoda incident and against Russia over 
the Dogger Bank accident. The first British destroyers were built 
as an answer to the French torpedo-boat flotillas and the super- 
cruisers of the day were built to counter the Russian Ruriks. Then 
came the change of front that allied us with France and Russia 
against the German naval challenge. 

The Dreadnought stole a march in construction on the Germans 
and the Admiralty pigeon-holed its plans for fighting France and 
Russia and prepared the secret plans for the Great War. The Press 
preached war with Germany, the professionals prepared for it, and 
the politicians prevaricated about it. We mobilized partially over 
the " Panther-spring " at Agadir and plunged into war over the 
Serajevo assassination. Germany smashed with the help of America, 
the British made Russia again the bogey-man, and the Bolshevik 
is still the First Murderer, with America a villain " of milder mood " 
but none the less M determined to be a villain " and to challenge our 
Command of the Sea. 1 We are already, in fact, whatever we say, 
building with an eye on the American fleet, and we may soon be 
mobilizing against it over some trumpery incident or twopenny 

One object of this book is to suggest to the minds of any members 
of the British ruling class that may read it, that the reorientation 
of British policy in 1922 was right and that the reaction to the 
policy of 1912 is wrong. That the old policy of maintaining a naval 
balance of power by throwing the British Navy from one scale to 
another may have been right when France, Russia, Germany, or 
Japan were concerned. But that it is wrong where America is 
concerned. And finally, that it is high time for the fire control in 
the top to shift the batteries of the Press on to another target — or 
even to cease fire altogether. 

We have to face the facts. The actual naval rivalry between the 
two English-speaking peoples has already embittered their relation- 

1 Secretary Hughes has stated that more money is being spent on the naval 
air arm alone than on the whole American Navy in any year prior to the War with 


ship and weakened their individual and united influence for peace 
in the world. Yet, if only the substance of sea security by agree- 
ment could be boldly grasped instead of this blind groping for the 
shadow of sea supremacy, these two mighty fleets with their growing 
air arms backed by scientific, economic, and financial supremacy, 
would ensure the Freedom of the Seas and security for the coasts 
and commerce of the world without let or hindrance for all time. 
Whereas nowadays a claim to Command of the Seas by any one 
nation is a shadow that flees ever before each competitor in the 
armaments race as he hurries towards the darkening horizon of 


WE are now ready to face the facts of the present, having 
reviewed, as far as might be, the facts of the past. Thus 
we have shown (Chapter I) that Freedom of the Seas 
and Command of the Seas in war cannot be referred for 
regulation to any system or sanction of " International Law," and 
that the rules as to the rights and responsibilities of neutrals and 
belligerents are, in fact, makeshift compromises conforming to every 
shift in the balance of sea power. We have seen (Chapter II) how 
the war swept all these legal fictions away, and set up a new naval 
warfare in three dimensions that requires a radical revision of rules 
made for naval warfare in two. We have suggested (Chapter III) 
that as, first the general peace and then special Conferences failed 
to satisfy American requirements for such a revision in the interest 
of Freedom of the Seas the United States are challenging our Com- 
mand of the Sea and our claim as an imperial sea Power to exercise 
an international sea police. 

When we come to the present day we find ourselves, therefore, 
faced with this alternative : that either the United Kingdom must 
engage with the United States in an armaments competition for 
Command of the Seas or the two of us must combine in that command 
for guaranteeing the Freedom of the Seas. 

In the first case — that of a competition for Command of the 
Seas — either we must let ourselves be peaceably outbuilt and outbid 
by the wealthier Americans as we outbuilt and outbid the Dutch, 
or we shall only let ourselves be ousted after a fight. 


It may shock some that we should begin this chapter by 
coldly — it may seem cynically — weighing the chances of another 



Anglo-American war for sea power. But we must face the facts of 
the past and the facts of the present. The first fact is that our only 
war with the United States, as an independent State, was on this 
issue in a far less vital form. The second is that in the last war the 
United States only fought for their traditional policy of Freedom of 
the Seas on our side and not against us, because German commerce 
destruction was more disagreeable to them and more derogatory to 
it than the commerce diversion of the British. The third fact is 
that this temporary alliance against German sea-piracy ended with 
the Armistice, and that we are now far advanced in a competition 
for sea power between the United Kingdom and the United States. 
And a fourth fact is that we are to-day no further off from war 
with America than we were from war with Germany when the 
Haldane negotiations for the limitation of Anglo-German naval 
armaments broke down just as Anglo-American disarmament has 

Indeed, the present situation is even more serious. Germany, 
our neighbour across the North Sea, our natural ally and associate, 
and our kin in race with a common culture, was challenging 
our supremacy in sea power and our superiority as carriers, 
colonisers, and capitalists. But Germany was not even aspiring to 
anything more than equality in economic competition and was 
accepting inferiority in naval strength. Whereas America will, 
in ten years, have equality in naval strength and already has 
superiority as a capitalist. America is our neighbour across the 
Atlantic, our natural ally and associate, and our racial first cousin, 
and shares with us not only a culture but also a literature and a 
language. On both sides of the Atlantic hands would be held up 
in horror at the idea of war. But then so they would have been 
twenty years ago on both sides of the North Sea at the idea of an 
Anglo-German war. And when a British statesman protests that 
war between England and America is " unthinkable," while making 
no exertions to clear up misunderstandings between the two peoples, 
methinks this gentleman doth protest too much. For the late 
Prince Lichnowsky has described (Auf dem Wege zutn Abgrund) his 
last interview with the then Prime Minister of England, in which 
Mr. Asquith spoke of a war with Germany as " quite unthinkable." 
War was then on the point of breaking out. 



What prospect is there that, when it comes to be generally realized 
that we are being ousted from that Command of the Seas which we 
have always been taught was a matter of life and death to us, we 
shall let it go without a struggle ? 

Shall we rather not look on Uncle Sam as — 

" A cutpurse of the Empire and the rule, 
That from the shelf the precious diadem stole, 
And put it in his pocket." 

It is useless for the American Government to protest that in its 
naval programme now before Congress there is no intention of 
competing with us. The United States Government have reduced 
their naval programme in response to our Government's suspension 
of the British cruisers, but the Press on both sides has a sound sense 
of the situation. Says their World : 

" This programme challenges in an unmistakable fashion the ancient 
prerogative of British sea-power. . . . To-day, both nations are drifting 
aimlessly in dangerous waters. Both are without political leaders whose 
imagination is competent to regulate this difficulty before it becomes 

And if the American is bruising our heel of Achilles we are tread- 
ing on his tenderest toe. His claim to supremacy over the two 
Americas has no better justification to-day than our claim to rule 
the two Atlantics. A century ago, when European Empires were all 
a-blowing and a-growing in the Americas, the Monroe doctrine had 
a basis and was a bargain. " We keep out of Europe, you keep out 
of America." " Trespassers will be prosecuted." But to-day 
American capital and commerce are even more in control of Europe 
than of South America. And the imperialistic implications of the 
Monroe doctrine are as vast and vague as those of our Sea Power. 
At the moment, the United States is penetrating or policing Nicara- 
gua just as we are China. And that not against a European Empire 
but against a local popular movement backed by a rival Mexico ; 
just as our intervention is against the same sort of movement backed 
by a rival — Russia. The only European Empire that still has a 


footing in the Americas is ours, and we are next door neighbours 
in Canada and the West Indies. The Americans have, in turn, 
ejected all other European States — the French, the Russians, and 
quite lately the Spanish, in this last case by war. They have 
skirmished with the Canadians more than once and it was only the 
combination of British sea supremacy and Anglo-Saxon solidarity 
that has kept the two peoples at peace for a century. If these two 
links go, Canada and the West Indies will go too, in so far as our 
imperial sovereignty is concerned, either by war or by some trans- 
action. For the history of Canada shows a recent rapid development 
towards independence, and the history of the West Indies shows a 
no less rapid divergence of these communities into the American 
economic system. 

It is useless for us to claim that Sea Power is vital to us and trans- 
atlantic supremacy not so to the Americans — that our maritime 
dominance is not imperialistic and their Monroe doctrine is. The 
American rulers are Anglo-Saxons like ourselves with the same 
capacity for sentimental self-humbug and for cynical self-help. 


Moreover, besides these vital issues and national ideals, there 
are to-day as many rivalries between British and American 
" interests " as there were between British and German before the 
war. Take only one example — that burning question of oil. The 
oil supply of the world, outside the Soviet sources, is now organized 
in two combines, one British, the other American. Their competition 
has now come to a crisis in their dispute for the Soviet surplus, and 
the recent success of the Americans has secured them supremacy 
in the Asiatic markets, including India. The influence of these 
combines over governmental policy on bath sides of the Atlantic 
is as obvious as it is obscure. And if this influence contributed, 
as seems probable, to the recent rupture of British official relations 
with the Soviet Union it may well under the conditions now 
developing contribute to a rupture of relations with the United 

If the Americans still have the advantage over the British in 
oil, the boot is on the other leg in regard to rubber — also a key 


commodity, essential both to the American producer and consumer. 
And the British have long had another hold over American industries 
in respect of tin. For the American canning industries are dependent 
on tin from the British Empire. And all these various commodities, 
which should be so many bonds of common interest between the 
two peoples, and control of which would give them in combination 
a command of the world for peace, will become more and more 
causes of ill-feeling so long as they are in rivalry with one another. 
For example, the British restriction on the output of rubber, and 
the consequent maintenance of rubber prices, has caused as much 
business resentment in America as American competition for 
Asiatic oil has caused in England. To which might be added, were 
there space, many other Anglo-American business rivalries that 
are making to-day the same sort of bad feeling that preceded and 
prepared our war with Germany. One more example only will be 
given. Our mercantile marine has had hitherto a monopoly of the 
carrying trade between India and America. This monopoly the 
United States Shipping Board are now challenging by running their 
subsidized vessels on this route at unremunerative rates. American 
State trading is thus attacking the shipping interests that hold our 
Empire together. Which British business thinks unfair. And 
though competition is no doubt desirable against these oil and 
shipping combines, yet it is no wonder that American business 
competitors are already more a bugbear to our ruling class than 
ever Germans were. 

Nor is this surprising when we reflect that, in charging us a war 
debt annuity averaging about thirty-five millions, our American 
allies are not only making us pay for having driven the German 
cruisers and carriers off the sea on their behalf, but also for driving 
our own off the sea at their behest. This effect of the debt settlement 
is as yet clearly realized only by a few, and those few are mostly 
of the political party responsible for that settlement. But a silent 
resentment is spreading through the British ruling class, all the more 
dangerous that it is as yet confined to the City, the Clubs, the petits 
comites, the Civil Service, the expert Committees — in short, to the 
extra-constitutional regions in which our British foreign policy is 
framed before Parliament and public opinion are seized of it. And 
it is in this region of " authority " that all our wars have begun. 



No doubt when the danger became imminent the real relationship 
between the two people would be expressed by the British workers 
even to the point of a passive resistance that would cost the rank 
and file their employment and their leaders imprisonment under 
the new Trades Union Penal Act. For they would go farther and 
faster to stop a war with America than they went in 1919 to stop 
a war with Russia. Such a war would also possibly be resisted by 
the American intellectuals of the Eastern States under peril of their 
persons and property from hundred per cent compatriots. But 
what would such protests avail against a Press propaganda on either 
side driving the ordinary public into war passion and panic ? For 
both sides would have much more material for an Anglo-American 
war-" hetze " than there was for the working up of the Anglo- 
German war fever. Take the following " Points for Speakers " 
representing the two points of view as an idea of how such propa- 
ganda might run. 

Possible British War-Propaganda. 

1. The Peace Trap. 

11 The Yanks plotting to rob us of that Command of the Seas that is 
the Bond of our Empire, the Bulwark of our liberties, and the basis of 
our economic existence, tried to take advantage of our straits in our 
War for Civilization to drive us into the Boche peace trap of a Freedom 
of the Seas. Foiled in this they proceeded to secure Sea Supremacy for 
themselves. They restored the German mercantile marine by financial 
assistance so as to restore the balance of power ; and they evaded entry 
into the League established by their own President so as to keep a free 
hand. Under pretext of naval disarmament on a basis of parity they 
demanded large cruisers — useless except for destroying our commerce — 
while denying us the small cruisers indispensable for its defence. They 
thereby forced on us a competition in naval armaments, and proceeded 
with their own ambitious programme even after we had suspended our 
modest three cruisers. They thereby prevented an economy of over 
fifty millions to our Budget and produced a conflict between the two 

" Meantime as a mask of their policy and a manoeuvre for position 
they advertized a pacifist propaganda for the ' Outlawry of War ' and for 


(Official photograph, U.S. Army Air Corps.) 


judicial settlements under arbitration treaties. But whenever taken at 
their word, either their Senate threw out the treaty, as in 1897 and 1912, 
or some imperialist formula of ' national honour ' as in 1908 or of ' Monroe 
Doctrine ' as in 1927 was inserted, which left them full power to fight on 
an imperialist issue. Indeed, in this latter case at the very moment when 
they were proposing treaties to ' outlaw war ' they were invading 
Nicaragua at the cost of several thousand lives in order to impose their 
imperialism on the international sea-route across the isthmus and encircle 
the Workers' Republic of Mexico. Freedom of the Lesser Nations and 
Freedom of the Seas are both bunkum, coming from the most powerful 
people in the world that has in recent times attacked all — and that has 
annexed many of its weaker neighbours and that has asserted such 
maritime claims as that the North Pacific Ocean was an American ' Mare 
Clausum.' Moreover, the liberties and the Law of Nations are menaced by 
a State that illegally excludes its own coloured citizens from the suffrage 
— where wealth can make private war on its own workers — and where 
the Courts have scandalized the civilized world by their suppression of 
freedom of speech and of thought. Even in such a judicial arbitration 
as that of the Behring Sea, employing the highest legal luminaries, the 
Americans relied on a forged document. Even for the imprisonment of 
a prominent Labour leader they have resorted to a police frame-up. 
As against the supremacy of such a State the British Navy is the only 
security for Peace and Progress. 

2. The Debt Trick. 
" The Yanks kept out of the war until they had made all the money 
they could out of both sides. Then when the hard fighting was over and 
all belligerents bled white and bankrupt they came in to dictate the 
peace. Even then they refused all responsibilities under the Peace 
settlement, such as participation in the League or acceptance of a mandate 
for Western Asia Minor that would have avoided the Greco-Turkish War, 
while they claimed all the rights under that settlement by their special 
peace with Germany. They then exacted as much of the war debts as 
they could extract from each State under pressure of their dominant 
financial position ; although this debt had been contracted for a common 
cause with them and at a cost of life and livelihood that they themselves 
had avoided. And this, although they had repudiated the debts of their 
own Southern States and had insisted on excluding them from arbitration. 
The money thus wrung from Europe went to establishing an American 
financial control over the national economics of European peoples that 
has entailed a command of their policy. In our case this debt annuity 
pays for building the foreign navy that is to deprive us of the command 
of the seas essential to our existence. 


" Against a financial and naval tyranny like this it is the duty of 
every patriot to fight to the death." 

Now let us outline a possible American war propaganda against 
the British. 

i. The Peace Trap. 

" The Britishers plotting to rob us of the Freedom of the Seas to 
which we owe the foundation of our independence — for which we have 
fought throughout our history — and which we can now at last enforce, 
involved us in war with Germany by driving Germany into illegalities 
and inhumanities through pressure of their Sea Power. Having accepted 
our assistance and armistice on terms, they broke faith in the Peace 
settlement both with us and with the Germans. President Wilson's 
demand for Freedom of the Seas was denied, and his Peace League was 
deformed into an instrument of imperialism. Having betrayed their 
own democracy, that believed itself to be fighting for new liberties of the 
lesser nations and a new Law of Nations, by the cynical imperialisms of 
the Secret Treaties, British diplomacy tried to bribe the Americans into 
sharing in the plunder. The President refused, and restored in the Peace 
settlements some respect for self-determination. But the German 
colonies were appropriated and lesser nations partitioned by the British 
under the cloak of ' mandates,' while the Supreme Council was perpetuated 
under cover of the League Council. 

" America rejected this ' peace ' and retired from the League. But 
under cover of Arbitration approaches and other side doors, the Britishers 
tried to get us to walk into their Geneva parlour. Both the Anglo- 
American arbitration treaties of 1897 and of 191 2 were immediately 
followed by a British war of imperialism, and it was fortunate that these 
were rejected by the Senate. Their last approach to Anglo-American 
arbitration was actually simultaneous with their invasion of China for 
the maintenance of British imperialism there against the Chinese national 

" America, having decided to secure to the world Freedom of the Seas 
by building a fleet equal to that of the British, offered the latter a mutual 
disarmament on the basis of parity. These disarmament conferences 
were used by the British experts to win tricks at our expense, just as their 
diplomats did in the Peace Conference. After accepting the principle of 
parity they evaded it in practice and, then, when challenged, repudiated 
the principle as well and took refuge in sophistries. The liberties of 
lesser peoples and the Law of Nations are menaced by a State whose 
foreign policy is still in terms of secret diplomacy, of Balance of Power, 
of Naval Empire, and of colonial exploitation. There is not one 
important movement for self-determination since the War that the British 


have not attacked in arms — Irish, Russian, Turkish, Afghan, Chinese, 
Arab, Egyptian. The world is not safe for democracy under the supremacy 
of such a government, or of one that can deceive its own electorate with 
a forged diplomatic document and that tried to convert the General 
Strike into a civil war. As against John Bull, gunman and gold brick 
man, the American Navy is the only security for Liberty and Law. 

2. The Indemnity Trick. 

" The Britishers, under cover of a War for Civilization, crushed their 
business rival. Having then obstructed the American reconstruction 
of Europe and regulation of the Seas, they hoped to oust America from 
Europe while they reduced the Germans to indefinite economic slavery 
by their immoral indemnity. But America retrieved Germany and 
Europe from the ruin and revolution caused by the British blockade, 
and they succeeded in imposing some measure of peace on the extravagant 
imperialisms of the British and the no less extravagant nationalisms of 
their Continental prot£g6s by calling in the war debts of the victors and 
by cutting down the war indemnity of the vanquished in the Dawes 

" The Britishers and their allies have tried hard to get America to write 
off the war-debts as against the war indemnities so as to free their 
finances for more imperialist wars. But the money power and sea 
power of America are the only real securities for peace and progress in 

" Against British imperialism in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and above 
all on the seas, it is the duty of every good American to fight, as his 
forefathers fought against it in America." 

That is the sort of thing that might be said on both sides, and 
all these things have already been said and that, too, by responsible 
people or papers. Not that the " Mad Mullah " proclaiming his jehad 
or Peter the Hermit preaching his crusade cares much about argu- 
ments. But there is enough truth in either indictment to make 
difficult the task of peace-makers and passive resisters. Nor would 
the advent of a British Labour Government avail of itself to conjure 
the danger. A Conservative Government may have less resources 
for a popular appeal, but it has far more power over the organs of 
public opinion. Whatsoever party is in power at Westminster the 
same difficulty will have to be faced — and the difficulty can probably 
be dealt with by Conservatives even better than by Progressives. 
It is, put shortly, that unless we mean to resign Command of the Sea 


without an effort, or unless we mean to face a fight which would 
probably end in our losing that and also our carrying trade and 
colonies, we must combine with the Americans in a common naval 


The preceding pages have shown that this is not difficult so 
far as principle is concerned. For, so far from there being any 
real difference in principle between Command of the Seas and Free- 
dom of the Seas, the former is the only material " sanction " for the 
latter, and the latter the only moral sanction for the former. The 
line between the two, as has been said, shifts with the political 
situation. Under a balance of Sea Power in a period of peace it 
shifts in favour of Freedom of the Seas and international Law. 
Under a supremacy of Sea Power and in a phase of general war it 
shifts in favour of Command of the Seas. But the only security 
and sanction for an international Law of the Seas is still one or 
more national navies. 

There is not yet, and there may never be, a supremacy of Sea 
Power so complete that it can administer a Sovereignty of the Seas 
as did the Roman Empire. The moral authority of a League of 
Nations, which will be something between that of the mediaeval 
Papacy and that of an international Prize Court, will not offer 
sufficient security to a people like ourselves, dependent on the sea 
for food, fuel, and every form of activity. Those who visualize a 
League disposing of a naval force are Leaguist visionaries who 
do a disservice to the cause of peace and who expose their country 
to disaster in war. Those, on the other hand, who would " scrap the 
navy " and accept in return " scraps of paper " such as all-in 
judicial arbitration treaties, an international Prize Court, and a 
Declaration of London, are little better than legalist voluptuaries. 
All these institutions have, no doubt, an importance for establishing 
and elaborating a judicature and jurisprudence of the Seas. But 
the only sanction is and must remain Sea Power. 

The Americans from their remoter perspective see this more 
clearly than do Europeans. We British, especially, are blinded by 
our belief in the League and inclined to blink its real character. 
We are reluctant to recognize that the very term " League of 


Nations " is a misnomer. For, as at present constituted, it is a 
League of Governments, and is wholly guided in its policy by the 
greatest common factor in the policies of the Governments com- 
posing it, particularly of those countries permanently constituting 
the Council. It does not yet, and in our time may not, represent the 
international public opinion of the peoples of the world. It repre- 
sents the mean of the national policies of the parties each people 
puts into power. A real League of Nations would offer some real 
security and be a safe repository for sanctions. The present one 
does not and is not. For a conjuncture on the Council of delegates 
representing reactionary or revolutionary Governments might make 
the League a militarist, rather than a mediatory, influence. Neither 
against conflicts arising on the old Balance-of-Power political 
" fronts " or on the new Bourgeois-Bolshevist social " fronts " is 
the League, as yet, a guarantee for the preservation of peace and for 
the Freedom of the Seas. 

The only security for peace that we British could accept, other 
than that of our own command of the seas, is that of an Anglo- 
American Agreement to maintain on the High Seas navies of equal 
strength which in combination could cope with any other possible 
combination — in short, an " Armed Neutrality." And that secured 
we could then accept agreements with other States for the Neutral- 
ization of the Narrow Seas that would enable them to reduce their 
armaments — in short, " Rush-Bagot " agreements. 

The principle of the Rush-Bagot arrangement as proclaimed by 
John Quincey Adams to Congress (56th 1st Sess.) and approved by 
the Senate is that disarmament is the only practical preventive of 
war. What Mr. Adams wrote to Lord Castlereagh a century ago 
as to Anglo-American armed forces on the Great Lakes is equally 
true to-day of their antagonism on the High Seas. 

" It is evident that if each party augments its forces with a view to 
obtaining an ascendancy over the other, vast expense will be incurred and 
the danger of a collision correspondingly augmented." 

There are plenty of historic precedents for such a policy in the 
Naval Leagues and other Armed Neutralities of the past. But 
practical considerations weigh more with us on both sides of the 
Atlantic than arguments of principle or precedent. Indeed, it may 


better illustrate the idea to compare the present international situa- 
tion with the national situation when the British put the office of 
Lord High Admiral into commission. Just as this was found to be 
too onerous a position and too objectionable a power to be held by 
one personage in the British commonwealth, so now it has become 
too onerous and objectionable a responsibility to be left with one 
Power in the fast growing Commonwealth of Nations. 


This then is the only possible policy for us British as an alternative 
to further drifting into war or being further driven off the seas. It 
is the only possible policy for Americans as an alternative to enor- 
mous expenditure on armaments and a repetition of the war of 1 812 
with the roles reversed. It is not a policy that should appeal to 
pacifists alone. It is one that offers 100 per cent patriots on both 
sides an escape from experiences very trying to the naval prestige 
and national pride of their country. For trying as it would be for 
British sailors and citizens to sink tamely into being a subordinate 
Sea Power, it might be even more trying for Americans if they had 
to fight us for supremacy. The experience and expertize of British 
seamen and shipbuilders will make up for a considerable inferiority 
in number and strength of ships. The British as the vastly superior 
naval power in 1812 and 19 14 had some eye-opening experiences in 
naval actions. The frigate duels of 1812 showed how much success 
an inferior navy can have without being able to fight a general 
action at all. Jutland showed that an inferior fleet can inflict 
heavier loss than it incurs in a general action. Moreover, the com- 
plete revolutionizing of naval warfare by submarine and mine and 
aeroplane makes the sum-total of Sea Power no longer a simple 
addition in money-power, armament-power and man-power, but a 
complicated equation of unknown quantities in which imponderables 
play a prominent part. The one thing that seems certain is that 
the next war will not necessarily be won either by big battalions or 
by big battleships or even by big banks. And in most other respects 
the United Kingdom could compete with the United States. 

Of course, too much must not be made of this assumption that the 
British are superior in naval man-power. Lord Lee, who as First 


Lord of the Admiralty attended the Washington Conference and 
welcomed its conclusions, did not improve the prospects of the 
Geneva Conference when at its most critical stage he wrote a letter 
to the Times, from which this is an extract : — 

" Apart from this, there are practical reasons why a great programme 
of shipbuilding is not likely to find expression in America. It is one thing 
to have the money, but quite another to find the men. Scarcity of 
personnel has always been an embarrassment to the American Navy 
Department, and to man even the existing fleet is a constant tax upon 
its ingenuity." 

Counting chickens before they are hatched is a mistake, but 
counting that they can't be hatched is worse. The men can be 
found all right from the 110,000,000 inhabitants of the United 
States, if the British furnish the motives for their mobilization. We 
made the same mistake of thinking that the Germans would never 
make sailors. The Germans made the mistake of supposing that, 
first England, and then America could never find soldiers enough 
for fighting on the modern scale. 


On the other hand, Freedom of the Seas in any form — revision of 
international law, naval disarmament, neutralization of Narrow 
Seas, etc. — cannot be achieved by America alone, no matter how 
many billions Americans may expend on armaments or how many 
millions may enlist in their army and navy. That Americans can 
achieve " mathematical superiority " over the British or any other 
navy is admitted. But Sea Power is not merely a matter of gun 
calibres and tonnage capacities. It is not even a matter only of 
courage and skill. London is still the financial centre of the world, 
and the capital, the credit and the commerce of the British are 
regaining much of the ground lost during the last war. The British 
army, navy and air force will always be at least the second in the 
world. The British mercantile marine will probably always be the 
first. The strategical advantages of the Empire are unrivalled, and 
its naval bases not only give it control of the main trade routes of 
the world, but would enable it, even as a secondary naval power, to 
set up a cut-and-run blockade of the American coast. The British 


Navy could always probably defy American attack in its own 
waters and deny the use of the sea to American commerce, not only 
in the oceans but on the American coasts themselves. For the last 
war has shown that the superiority of the cut-and-dried blockade 
of the superior navy over the cut-and-run blockade of the secondary 
navy has been greatly reduced, if not altogether removed, by the 
introduction of submarine and aeroplane operations. 

Even if outbuilt by the United States in battleships, cruisers, 
submarines and aircraft, the British could, if the worst came to the 
worst, deny a great part of the Atlantic, all the Mediterranean, the 
Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and great areas of the Western and 
Southern Pacific to American merchant shipping or to neutral 
merchant shipping engaged in carrying goods for American ex- 
porters and merchants. The Cape route would also be denied to 
America and, indeed, all the African trade ; and the British could 
command in part even the southern and western Atlantic so long 
as their bases in the Falkland Islands, Guiana, the West Indies, 
Halifax and Bermuda held out. 

Nor, in the present state of world opinion, need the British look 
in vain for alliances on the Continent of Europe. With a measure 
of secret diplomacy and demagogic subtlety, by no means beyond 
British plenipotentiaries and politicians, the British Empire could 
to-day exploit the prejudice in Europe against " Uncle Sam, the 
Shylock." The British might even exploit prejudices among 
Central and South American peoples by no means enamoured of — 
or intimidated by — their big American neighbour and his Big Stick. 
We need only refer to the recent declaration (29th February, 1928) 
by the Argentine Delegate at Geneva that the South American 
States do not recognize the Monroe doctrine and repudiate its in- 
clusion in the Covenant, in order to realize how easy it would be to 
drive diplomatic wedges into Pan- Americanism. 

Any such intrigue would, as in the case of the " Zimmerman 
Letter," be infallibly revealed to and bitterly resented by American 
public opinion. But it is just such risks of '* revelations " and of 
ruptures, and of the consequent appeals to war passions and war 
panics, that must be avoided. These can best be avoided by arrange- 
ments for co-operation as to the seas which are the common heritage 
of the two peoples. 


Therefore, however large an Armada the United States prepares 
the United Kingdom will retain, until heavily defeated in war, a 
strong secondary position, and, as regards the Old World, a supreme 

Thus, while " Uncle Sam " can prevent " John Bull " command- 
ing the seas he cannot effectively control them himself so as to 
guarantee their freedom in peace and war without " John Bull's " 
consent. " John Bull," on the other hand, now that he has to 
surrender sea supremacy, cannot safeguard his own commerce or 
secure his own coasts without " Uncle Sam's " co-operation. 


Assuming then that a naval agreement with America must come 
sooner or later as the necessary result of the common sense of the 
two peoples and of the conditions in which they now find themselves, 
what is to be done ? 

In the first place, if we are going to secure an agreement on a basis 
of equal naval strength, there is no time to be lost. The present 
phase in which the Americans offer us parity will not last long. It 
is the result of a balance of power in America between, on the one 
side, an economist plutocracy and a pacifist public opinion and, on 
the other side, navalist ideals and imperialist interests. The latter 
are still immature, but are steadily getting stronger. If once they 
secure supremacy in Sea Power they will not again surrender it. 
Patriotic sentiment, to which Americans are even more susceptible 
than ourselves, will then cause a demand for Command of the Seas 
for the establishment and enforcement of Freedom of the Seas. The 
American Navy will then be praying as does the British to-day that — 

" they may be a security for all such as pass on the Seas upon their lawful 

but as to the legality of those occasions the Judge will be the Presi- 
dent, not King George. 

As for us British our present though tardy readiness to accept 
equality in naval power with America is a phase not a permanence. 
Our public opinion is prepared at the moment to approach the 
question under the realization that our supremacy at sea is costing 


more than it is worth ; that it is a heavy enough burden on the 
English to have to carry the cost of the sea forces of an Empire, 
composed of independent States scattered over all the Seven Seas, 
each with its own interests and issues in foreign relations ; and that 
it would be too much if to this were added the provision of naval 
' ■ sanctions ' ' for the League (vide Sir A. Chamberlain, Chap. Ill) . But 
once let an issue arise that really puts in question the security of our 
supplies by sea or the sovereignty of our overseas possessions, and 
there is no British Government, whether Tory-economist or Little 
England-socialist that would not be forced into competitive building 
against America. And, until we have a general agreement with 
America in the nature of a Sea-security and Disarmament pact, 
such an issue might at any time arise. 


There is a disposition among British Progressives to postpone 
action in this matter until the advent to power of a Liberal or Labour 
Government, and to assume that such a change in the point of view 
of the party in power will almost automatically alter the attitude of 
the peoples towards one another. But this is a very great mistake. 
For we have seen (in Chapter III) how powerful an influence is 
exercised over British government by the Board of Admiralty 
backed by the " authority " of the ruling class. This influence 
persists, no matter what party is in power ; and progressive Govern- 
ments are particularly subject to it owing to professional and even 
public apprehension lest their pacifism might be possibly superior 
to their patriotism. It is an influence, moreover, that effects com- 
plete changes of policy by successive technical proposals and pro- 
positions of detail very difficult to traverse or to treat as departures 
from an approved policy. We have seen how a mere replacement of 
cruisers, when the first Labour Government was in power, was 
carried against the wishes of the Cabinet and came to be considered 
in America a reversal of policy. Yet it is hard to see how, in the 
circumstances, the Labour Government could have acted otherwise 
than it did and refused to build new ships, more powerful than any 
predecessors of their class, in view of the Admiralty assurances that 
they were required in the national interest. Nevertheless, at the 


time the British Navy was relatively stronger in this class of vessels 
than in any other. 

In like manner it has been easy for the Admiralty and armament 
interests to work up an agitation about building programmes in 
Japan, France, Italy and America. It mattered nothing that these 
programmes were on paper, and would probably remain only on 
paper unless the British provided the incentive to appropriate 
moneys for them. Professional authority has learnt how to control 
Parliament and public opinion by platform and Press agitations. 

A Labour Government, whose Ministers in the service depart- 
ments might be men " moving with vague misgiving in worlds half 
realized " — which had a small majority in the Commons and a very 
small minority in the Lords — which had practically the whole 
Press and most of articulate and authoritative public opinion against 
it — and which had no definite programme beyond pious and pacific 
principles, would be in a very weak position for imposing on pro- 
fessional and Parliamentary opposition, on the Press and on public 
opinion, a departure from our traditional policy of independent 
Command of the Seas. It would almost certainly either fail, through 
compromising itself with compromises, or fall in a collision with the 
political Admirals and its professional advisers. 

No doubt a strong Socialist Government with a carefully prepared 
programme, or a Liberal-Labour Coalition with dominant public 
personalities, might get such a grip of British opinion, and might so 
win American opinion by bold gestures, as to put through, in one 
term of office, such proposals as are hereafter outlined. By uniting 
the younger school of soldiers and sailors with the Leaguist and 
Labourite pacifists for such a radical reduction and reconstruction 
of armaments as would combine the greatest possible efficiency and 
economy, such a Government might be able to retain public con- 
fidence in the security of the country and in the sincerity of the 
Cabinet. But such a Government would also have so much else on 
hand that it is more than likely that it would not be able to under- 
take that vigorous offensive in this region that would be its defence 
against an opposition. An opposition that would not fail to profit 
by any promising opening for an indictment as to neglect of the 
indispensable defences of the State. 

There is possibly a better prospect of improvement in this region 


from a moderate Conservative Government. It was Conservative 
leaders who made the long step towards naval disarmament and 
association with America at Washington. True, the Admiralty, by 
detaching Mr. Churchill and some Tory intransigents, reversed this 
policy as far as was possible at Geneva. But a Conservative Govern- 
ment might see the opportunity offered to acquire merit by a " sea 
Locarno " that would bring not merely Germany, but America, 
back into association with us. And such a Government would be 
able to control public opinion through its Press, its professional 
advisers and its patriots of the ruling class. So weak a Prime 
Minister or so wayward a Chancellor as those of the present Govern- 
ment are not common features even of British post-war politics. 

The proposals that follow have therefore been prepared with an 
eye to their application rather by a Conservative than by a Pro- 
gressive British Government. The difference being, that a strong 
Progressive Government must begin by getting as far as it can with 
the initial impetus of the popular mandate that has put it into 
power, knowing that the farther it goes and the longer it lasts the 
more it will lose driving power and direction. Whereas a Conserva- 
tive Government will move slowly along a line of least resistance and 
gradually gather momentum from its own movement. 


Assuming, then, that future British Governments will be either 
Conservative-Progressive or Progressive-Conservative and that 
future American Governments will lie within the range between those 
of Wilson and Coolidge, what prospect is there of getting an agree- 
ment for an Anglo-American Armed Neutrality that would secure 
the British a fair insurance in command of the seas and the Ameri- 
cans a fair assurance of Freedom of the Seas ? The answer seems 
to be that the principal difficulties of such an agreement in the past 
are now disappearing. British insistance on naval superiority has 
had to yield to hard facts. American objections to such arrange- 
ments as " entangling alliances " or " undesirable commitments " 
are yielding to force of circumstances. Moreover, such an agreement 
with us would be only a preliminary to a general agreement for that 
revision of sea law that is a canon of American policy. And the 


guarantee to be given to that new law would be confined to waters 
accessible to American warships and would carry no commitments 
to European affairs. Nor is there any infringement of the Senate's 
constitutional prerogatives in agreements to reduce armaments or 
arrangements for the revision of international law. Any legislation 
that might be required would be in line with the Outlawry of War 
movement and would be left to Congress. And if an atmosphere of 
confidence could be substituted for the too angular Anglo-Saxon 
attitudes hitherto affected on either side, neither Republicans 
nor Democrats, Conservatives nor Labourites would have much 
difficulty with partisan opposition or public opinion, 


But there would none the less be difficulties of sentiment. The 
British would have, in the first place, to realize fully that their 
naval supremacy is gone and recognize frankly that " parity " with 
America gives them all the security required, whether as belligerents 
or neutrals. As yet our Admirals represent too large a body of 
British opinion when they write (Times, 6th July, 1927) : 

" We insist on that number of cruisers. If America insists on building 
to parity that is her affair. But it would not be an act of goodwill." 

Americans on their side must realize that their new Command of 
the Seas will make it even more impossible for them to keep out 
of European wars in the future. As it is, they have been forced into 
every general European war since their independence, and their best 
chance of keeping out of the next is to overcome their secular 
suspicion of us and to associate with us in an armed neutrality that 
can keep the peace. But at present their mayors represent too 
large a body of American opinion when they talk of M making King 
George keep his snoot out of Chicago." And, apart from the 
mollification of such giants, there are still difficulties of sentiment. 

On the British side there is still a strong prejudice against revival 
of this second of the President's Fourteen Points, and on the Ameri- 
can side a strong prejudice against any approach to the League. 
Now this Second Point was the first pillar of the President's Temple 
of Peace. Which means that the British will have to envisage now 
the eventual renunciation of the right of independent blockade instead 


of, as now, tacitly recognizing that in future it will be impossible 
to enforce it without American approval. While the Americans 
will have to envisage now, eventually recognizing, that Freedom of 
the Seas and Sea Law cannot be guaranteed without an Anglo- 
American Convention which will have to be brought into relation 
with the Covenant of the League. 


This change of atmosphere and of attitude must precede any real 
naval disarmament. Instead of politicians protesting that an 
Anglo-American war is unthinkable while their professional advisers 
are bound to think of nothing else ; instead of Peace Conferences like 
that of The Hague in 1907, which exclude naval disarmament — the 
real road to peace — or Naval Disarmament Conferences like that 
of 1927 at Geneva, which are exploited by experts for juggling over 
cruiser tonnages and gun elevations or for jockeyings with Singa- 
pore docks and building programmes as at Washington, there might 
be a real disarmament for a real reason as there was of the British 
war-fleet after the defeat of Germany. 

The basic principle of such a disarmament might then be an Anglo- 
American parity, not of tonnage, but of annual expenditure, leaving 
each party to expend its quota as it pleased, which would eliminate 
the experts. If one party to such an agreement used its quota in 
such a way that another party considered itself menaced, there 
would be several courses open to the aggrieved party. It could use 
its own quota wholly as a reply to the menace, it could notify the 
other parties that it must incur extra expenditure unless the con- 
struction complained of ceased, or it could give notice to terminate 
the agreement in six months — all of which measures have been 
taken at different times under the Rush-Bagot agreement without 
in any way weakening its principle (See Appendix). It is difficult 
to see how, with so liberal an arrangement and with so much liberty 
of action, there could be any real risk even for a Power so vitally 
interested in its sea communications as is the British Empire. In 
fact, under such an arrangement, it would probably be possible to 
stop such building of submarines by neighbouring Powers as is now 
causing the British serious alarm and against which they have now 
no real remedy . 


The disarmed frontier along the Great Lakes has never been any 
cause of alarm to either the American or the Canadian peoples, 
simply because they have always been led to look upon it as safe. 
The highly armed water frontier between the British and French 
peoples has been, and is, a constant cause of alarm, simply because 
the larger the armaments the less those people are led to look upon 
it as safe. The " Blue-water School " often, for reasons of its own, 
behaves as a Blue-funk School. For long after the British had 
disarmed the Germans, destroyed their Fleet, and denied them sub- 
marines, their Admiralty went on maintaining naval defences and 
naval bases on the North Sea coast of no use except for an Anglo- 
German naval war. 

But the fears of to-day become the jests of to-morrow. For 
some years after the signing of the Rush-Bagot agreement stores of 
arms were secreted on both sides of the border. They are now 
valued as heirlooms or valuable as curios. 

The Great Lakes have been converted by ship canals into ocean 
inlets and are no longer, as they were a century ago, inland waters. 
Yet the agreement has been honourably maintained under these 
new conditions. There seems no reason to fear that such an arrange- 
ment neutralizing Narrow Seas, like the Caribbean channels or 
Alaskan inlets, would not. survive any similar sudden change of 
strategic conditions. And as other Powers acceded to the arrange- 
ment and similar arrangements were extended to other Narrow 
Seas further disarmament would become possible. Until, eventu- 
ally, navies were reduced to revenue and police craft as they are 
to-day in the Great Lakes. A Joint Naval Board, responsible for 
and reporting on the administration of these arrangements, might 
be conducive to public confidence. And we would cite as an en- 
couraging example of what such Joint Boards can do in preventing 
national issues from disturbing international interests the good work 
done by various permanent American-Canadian Commissions on 
this same water frontier. 


If this first step be taken of neutralizing, or at least demilitarizing, 
the Narrow Seas in which British and Americans are especially con- 
cerned ; and if this step be accompanied by a reciprocal reduction 


of the British and American Navies, then the next step will be an 
extension of these arrangements to other Sea Powers. Obviously 
a neutralization of the Baltic, Southern North Sea, Channel, Adriatic, 
iEgean and Black Sea, would enable several minor navies to disarm 
at once altogether — provided an adequate " armed neutrality " 
guaranteed the neutralization. 

A first step in this direction of disarmament by demilitarization 
was taken at the Washington Conference (see Chapter III). It was 
the partial demilitarization of a zone in the Pacific which made 
possible the partial demilitarization of the Japanese Navy and the 
dissolution of the Anglo- Japanese armed alliance. 

Compare with this another cause of demilitarization — that of the 
Aaland Islands, which was under the auspices of the League and 
was unaccompanied by any disarmament. Because the Sea Power 
most interested, the Soviet Union, was not included. The history 
of this, very shortly, is that Russia violated the Treaty of Paris 
(Art. 33) on the outbreak of war and occupied these islands which 
command the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. They were 
as advantageous to Russian naval strategy as Belgium to the German 
military strategists. Nevertheless, it was decided after the war 
(Report of Jurists Commission) that the Convention of Paris being 
still in force as International Law, the international and neutralized 
status of the islands had survived Russian and Swedish occupation. 
By a treaty of 24th July, 1921, these islands, or rather a demarcated 
area of the Baltic containing them, was declared a " neutral zone " 
and demilitarized. 

The best known example of neutralization in modern times, that 
of the Black Sea in the Treaty of Paris, was of a different character 
and a cause not of disarmament but of armament. For this was a 
penal disarmament of a defeated enemy, Russia, like the present 
disarmament of Germany in the North Sea and Baltic. This penal 
disarmament was naturally and necessarily denounced and discarded 
at the first opportunity by Russia. And the first opportunity was 
obviously the first rupture — the Franco-Prussian war between the 
Sea Powers that were guaranteeing the neutralization. Applying 
this lesson to the present proposition for neutralizing the Black Sea 
and North Sea-Baltic, we must recognize that if these were to be 
imposed as a penalty on Russia and Germany respectively, they 


Would oniy last until the supremacy in sea power that was guaran- 
teeing them was ended by a rupture between the Sea Powers. And 
this guarantee would in fact hold good so long as the Anglo-American 
solidarity held good. But if, as would be the case, it were not 
imposed as a penalty but for the mutual protection and profit of 
all the associated Powers there would always be a sufficient sea police 
— an authoritative Armed Neutrality — for the maintenance of any 
such neutralization. 


Such a neutralization, accompanied by naval disarmament, would 
be a long step towards restoring the confidence of a penally disarmed 
Germany in the present constitution of Europe. And, without such 
confidence there can be no peace. It would be a still longer step 
towards restoring Russian co-operation in the present constitution 
of Europe, and without such co-operation there will sooner or later 
be war. For this proposal is in line with the disarmament proposals 
made by the Russians themselves at Geneva, which contemplate 
with characteristic comprehensiveness a division of the seas into a 
number of zones to be policed by specified Sea Powers with 3000-ton 
patrol boats, carrying light guns and crews armed with pistols. In 
short, a regular Russian-Bagoting of all navies. 

Now, therefore, is the time to negotiate treaties in which America 
and Britain would offer Freedom of the Seas to Russia, Germany 
and the other States concerned by means of a demilitarizing of the 
North Sea, the Baltic and the Black Sea. Because Germany Is, for 
the time being, disarmed ; while Russia is, for the time being, 
diverted from naval enterprise and has a foreign policy and foreign 
relationships which have a more modern sanction than sea power. 
On the other hand, British sea power is at present a serious menace 
to the Soviet system. For though it cannot, as has been proved, 
overthrow the new institutions, yet it can penetrate and perturb the 
circle of subsidiary States with which Soviet Socialism has sur- 
rounded and secured its political innovations and its economic 

The Baltic States — Finland for example — could be cajoled or 
coerced into becoming a subsidized satellite of British sea power in 


the Baltic. The same applies to Turkey, Roumania and even the 
Caucasian Sovietist States in the Black Sea. We have evidence of 
the use that can be made of sea power in the disintegration of the 
Chinese Nationalist movement by a British military intervention 
at Shanghai. Whether this intervention will prove to have been an 
advantage to the nation concerned and the world in general, any 
more than were the interventions of British sea power against 
Russian Nationalist Socialism in the Baltic and Black Seas, or against 
Turkish Nationalism in the Straits, does not concern us. The 
point is that they were all undertaken by the British Navy acting 
as a sea police, with the partial approval of America and other Sea 
Powers. Without that approval they would have been impossible. 
And that approval will not in future be obtainable so easily as when 
the British Navy was supreme at sea, and the object of intervention 
was a revolutionized Russia or a China discredited by Communism 
and disintegrated by civil war. 


Since the war the British are too suspect of interested aims and 
imperialist ambitions to be able to assert their old arbitrary authority 
as sea police. If the reader could have seen, as one of the present 
writers did, the crisis at Constantinople when the Turkish Nationalist 
armies came up against the British garrison, he would have realized 
that the international mandate for the preservation of peace was 
being exercised in the Bosphorus, not by the British but by the 
American Navy. Admiral Bristol was the American successor of that 
long line of British Admirals who, in so many crises, had imposed 
peace on conflicting nationalist and imperialist navies in the Mediter- 
ranean. And admirably did he discharge his responsibilities. His 
position and powers can be compared indeed to that of British 
Admirals in the previous century when intervening between the 
imperial Ottoman Navy and the Greek National Navy in one of their 
many disputes for Crete. 

Therefore the renunciation of independent British intervention 
against Nationalist or Socialist movements that would be involved 
in a neutralization of the Narrow Seas — the Baltic and Black Sea — 
would be no great sacrifice ; quite apart from any question as to 


whether such interventions are sound policy. And the formal 
acceptance of American association as a sine qua non of any further 
sea policing would be a reinforcement of our influence in view of the 
unfortunate fact that it is the American, and not the British, Navy 
that now enjoys the confidence of the countries concerned. 

But will the British agree to a neutralization of the Channel 
and Southern North Sea over which until two centuries ago they 
claimed sole sovereignty and where they are still to-day supreme ? 
In this case it is not merely a question of the British renouncing 
the pride and privileges of Sea Power and the pressure of its policy 
on overseas peoples. The British have to face the more practical 
question as whether they would be safe in entrusting the protection 
of their Channel and North Sea coast and the commercial highways 
to Newcastle, Hull, London and Southampton, to such an Armed 
Neutrality ? This is a point calling for the most careful consideration. 
In the first place, as we found in the war, the British fleet of battle- 
ships can no longer draw an impenetrable cordon round the British 
Isles. Owing to the under-water menace of submarine and floating 
mine it cannot even prevent enemy cruisers from coastal raids as 
was shown in the last war. While the aeroplane has made the 
Channel as a line of defence as obsolete as a mediaeval moat* 

" This precious stone set in a silver sea 
Which serves it in the office of a wall 
Or as a moat defensive to a house " 

—can keep its moat as a picturesque " period *' feature but will find 
a police force a more useful protection. Mediaeval Lords of the 
Manor felt, no doubt, more comfortable behind a moat for many 
generations after cannon and the constabulary had made them 
unnecessary nuisances. 

The British would therefore lose nothing and would only be 
giving a logical expression and extension to the strategy of the last 
war if they transferred their naval bases from the Channel and North 
Sea to the Atlantic Ports as a transition towards a more complete 
disarmament. For in the event of these waters being threatened 
with use as a field of hostilities the armed neutrality would in the 
last resort simply close them with minefields, excepting channels 
under its supervision, as was done by the belligerents in the last war. 


But an armed neutrality, based on such an Anglo-American naval 
association as won the last war, is essential to the British if they are 
to accept an international guarantee instead of a naval guard for 
their coast. 


An association of the American Navy in any guarantee for the 
neutralization or demilitarization of the Narrow Seas is indispens- 
able, if any real naval disarmament is to be obtained thereby on the 
part of countries with coasts and commerce to protect. And 
although no sea law can have any real sanction without the support 
of an American Navy, and though such new sea law as this would be, 
is, in effect, that Freedom of the Seas for which the American Navy 
has been built, yet the question arises all the same as to whether the 
Americans will agree to give such a guarantee. 

Let us first consider the American Senate. Because their competi- 
tion with the Executive for control over Foreign Affairs has caused 
the collapse of many peace moves and will cause the collapse of 
many more. The Senate approved the Rush-Bagot demilitarization 
and disarmament — they have a large majority that would support 
progressive peace policy — and they could find in this proposal no 
encroachment of their constitutional perogative. We have, however, 
to face the fact that the Senate represent that Conservative element 
in American public opinion that favours isolation and fears entangle- 
ment. It was the Senate who prevented the United States from 
undertaking those responsibilities in Europe pressed on them by 
President Wilson. But the responsibility here proposed does not lie 
in Europe, but on those seas which are as much the heritage of 
Americans as of any other people. 

Lord Salisbury once silenced soft-hearted and soft-headed British 
altruists who wanted armed intervention for the protection of 
Armenia with the objection that " the British Fleet cannot cross 
the Taurus." With an equally sound sense of their limitations the 
Americans rejected President Wilson's proposal for American 
mandates in Asia Minor, to the great loss of the rest of civilization. 
But the American Fleet can cross the Atlantic. It did so a century 
ago, as we have seen in the first chapter, and imposed Freedom of 
the Seas on the pirates of the Narrow Seas of the Mediterranean. 


It can now impose Freedom of the Seas from " private war " in 
those and other seas. And if they can be made to understand this 
the Americans will be ready to undertake it. 


What chance is there then of getting from the American people 
as a whole such a guarantee of Freedom of the Seas as will secure 
the British and Europeans in disarming navally ? A bilateral Anglo- 
American offensive — or even defensive, alliance is, of course, out 
of the question. Even a general guarantee, like that of Art. X in the 
Covenant, is hopeless in view of the constitutional powers of the 
Senate, and the probability that a sufficient minority of the Foreign 
Affairs Committee will express the popular antipathy to continental 
commitments in general and to entangling alliances with the British 
in particular. 

But there are two sentiments of almost equal strength in the 
mental make-up of every individual American or Englishman. 
One is the instinct for segregation and for the assertion of rights, and 
the other is the instinct for service and for the assumption of responsi- 
bilities. In Americans the first has expressed itself in the Monroe 
doctrine and isolation. The second has expressed itself in Freedom 
of the Seas and co-operation in the cause of peace. Between these 
two national instincts — isolation and co-operation — there is a 
constant oscillation. Isolation is at present dominant ; but it is, and 
always has been, curiously intertwined with co-operation, both in 
American personalities and in American policies. For example, 
George Washington, to whose Farewell Address this policy of isolation 
is generally referred, obviously considered isolation a provisional 
policy, not a permanent principle. He not only sanctioned " tem- 
porary alliances " for " extraordinary emergencies " but assumed that 
"when our institutions are firmly consolidated and working with 
complete success, we might safely and beneficially take part in the 
consultations of Foreign States for the good of Nations." 
The process he anticipated has taken place. In the century 1784 
1884 the United States Government took part in only two inter- 
national Conferences. In the following three decades, up to the Great 
War, it took part in twenty-eight of which it ratified the results. 


This emergence from isolation was mainly effected by President 
Roosevelt who made the United States, not only participant but 
predominant, in two peace settlements of primary importance ; 
that which settled the Far East after the Russo-Japanese War and 
that of Algeciras (1906), which prevented a European war about 
Morocco. It is now forgotten that it was the American President 
who convoked the Conference, drew up the agenda, and, when it 
deadlocked, decided the settlement and induced the recalcitrant 
Kaiser to accept it. Yet, in this very year (1906) the Senate by 
resolution reaffirmed — 

" the traditional foreign policy which forbids participation by the 
United States in the settlement of political questions which are entirely 
European in their scope." 

And this is the most authoritative definition to-day of the isolationist 
principle, framed as it is by the body which has considered itself 
especially responsible for enforcing it. 

But even the Senate with its eye on its own constitutional control 
of Foreign Affairs, can be carried a certain way into co-operation 
by the right man and the right methods at the right moment. The 
outbreak of the Great War produced almost a passion for segregation 
and isolation in America. But, as realization grew that Europe could 
not make peace and might destroy civilization unless America 
intervened, and that, in any case America was practically involved 
however much it might isolate itself politically, this changed to 
the contrary sentiment. And the call for co-operation found its 
prophet in Wilson. But not in Wilson only. His opponent, Mr. 
Roosevelt, preached in 1915 (America and the World War) " A 
world League for a Peace of Righteousness " in which the United 
States should take the lead. A " League to enforce Peace " was 
proposed (1915) by a Society of leading Republicans like ex-President 
Taft, this League to use military sanctions against aggressors. And 
with this went a general silencing of the " entangling alliances " 

President Wilson, in a speech on Memorial Day (30th May, 1916), 
said : 

" General Washington warned us against entangling alliances. I 
shall never myself consent to an entangling alliance. But I would gladly 
assent to a disentangling alliance that would disentangle the peoples of 


the world from these combinations in which they seek their separate 
interests and unite them to preserve the peace. There is freedom, not 

He later repeated this point in his address to the Senate (22nd 
January, 1917), when he said, " there is no entangling alliance in a 
Concert of Power." While his bitter opponent, Senator Lodge, 
who was later to voice American withdrawal from the League on 
isolationist grounds, echoed this (1916) : 

" I do not believe that when Washington warned us against entangling 
alliances he meant for one moment that we should not join with other 
civilized nations to diminish war and encourage peace." 

Thereafter the disillusionment s of Versailles brought, as we 
have seen, a reaction against co-operation that still endures. And, 
in view both of the worsening of relations since the failure of Geneva 
and of the way that the negotiations for a new arbitration Treaty 
are being handled, we can hope for nothing better at present than to 
get America to accept such an association with the British as it 
offered in the Washington Agreement in 1923. It will be some time 
before we get America to combine with the British in such naval 
co-operation as followed their entry into the war. But there seems 
to be no reason why we should not now get together to secure a 
Peace for the Seas — of Freedom of the Seas — by Command of the 

One serious difficulty remains. That the peace movements of the 
two countries are pursuing different policies from distinct points of 

The Americans are getting more and more into the Outlawry of 
War movement. The British more and more into the League 
movement. And we have now to show that, like the antagonism 
between Freedom of the Seas and Command of the Seas, the antagon- 
ism between the Peace League and Outlawry of War is an antagonism 
only of aspects and attitudes and not necessarily of principle or 
even of policy. 


Let us analyse " outlawry " therefore, and see first how it can be 
brought into line with British peace policy, and then how it does not 


necessarily conflict or compete with the League. The authoritative 
formulation of " outlawry " is contained in various resolutions 
brought before Congress and included in the Appendix. But here 
we shall only deal with the principles underlying them all, and not 
with their very considerable differences of detail. 

The controversy as to whether war can ever be justifiable is as 
old as war itself. In the early days of international war, when 
police wars against pirates, religious wars against heretics, and civil 
wars against rebels were common and important, the regulators of 
war, like Grotius, had the better of repudiators of war, like Erasmus. 
Then, as Machiavelli and Hobbes developed their political theories 
and national States arose, the assumptions that war was the proper 
prerogative and protection of Princes and peoples, became pre- 
dominant. " The King can do no wrong '• in its modern form of 
" My country, right or wrong " became a sufficient justification. 

The " outlawry of war " movement is a refreshing reaction against 
this. And, naturally enough, it concentrates its attack on individual 
rather than on collective responsibility. For it is inequitable and 
inexpedient to penalize a people. Thus almost every great war has 
produced an " outlawry of war " reaction for the penalizing of 
individual war-makers. The Congress of Vienna branded Napoleon 
as — 

" an enemy of the peace of the world . . . liable to public vengeance " 

and the Treaty of Versailles (Art. 227) " publicly arraigns " the 
Kaiser for — 

" a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of 

This led logically to the prosecuting of " war criminals," and the 
Treaty also provided for the prosecution of enemy persons who 
violated the laws and customs of war. But this, which is an after- 
effect of war fever, cannot be sustained. Napoleon was imprisoned 
and the result was a Napoleonic restoration a generation later. 
Moderate opinion approved Holland's refusal to extradite the 
Kaiser for trial, as well as Germany's decision to herself try the " war 
criminals " at Leipsig with the result that some were sentenced. 
And when the Treaty went so far as to indict Germany as a whole 


for " war guilt," public opinion now begins to see that a mistake was 

The " outlawry of war " movement for penalizing war-making is 
on firmer footing than these penalties in that it looks forward 
and not backward. Senator Borah's resolution (see Appendix) 
proposes that — 

" Every nation should be encouraged by solemn agreement or treaty 
to indict and punish its own international war breeders and war profiteers 
under powers similar to those conferred on Congress under Art. i, Sec. 8, 
of the Federal Constitution, which clothes Congress with powers to 
define and punish offences against the Law of Nations." 

Moreover, similar powers are conferred by the new German Constitu- 
tion. We have here, in fact, a practicable proposal for reinforcing 
respect for international law by domestic penal legislation. States 
being already responsible to one another for violations of inter- 
national law, it is only necessary to define that law clearly in order 
to make them protect themselves by penal legislation. And some 
legislation of this sort is already in force, namely the Foreign 
Enlistment Acts. 

Outlawry of War, therefore, in looking to internal legislation as a 
sanction for a revised and extended international law, including 
Freedom of the Seas, is not only sound in principle but produces 
satisfactory precedents on which to build. And good use can be 
made of this proposal of the Outlawry movement in providing a 
sanction for Freedom of the Seas and in permitting a more rational 
segulation of the rights of neutrals in respect of Contraband. 

In another respect the Outlawry of War movement has given a 
lead that should be followed up by British pacifists without difficulty. 
That is, in its demand for a revision and reinforcement of international 
law in general and of sea law in particular Attempts have already 
been made in this direction by Conferences and Committees of 
jurists working, on the one side, for pan-American organizations, 
on the other side, for European organizations such as the League. 
All have achieved just nothing at all. Nor will anything be achieved 
until British and Americans get together on the job, working on an 
agreed principle, namely Freedom of the Seas, and with an associated 
sanction, namely their joint Command of the Seas. 



Before Freedom of the Seas can be secured under an Anglo- 
American Command of the Seas existing international law must be 
brought up to date in two respects which at present regulate Com- 
mand of the Sea by any one sea power : namely Contraband and 

The whole condition of the law of contraband is chaotic. It is 
as confused in principle as in practice. As to the principle the jurists 
of no one sea power have as yet agreed as to whether commerce in 
contraband is illegal or illicit or the opposite. Judge Story called it 
" illicit " (Carrington v. Insurance Co., 1834) — Chief Justice Chase 
called it " unlawful " (" Peterhoff," 1866). While Chancellor Keat 
considered it lawful (Seton v. Low, 1799). The position would appear 
to be that it is to a large extent still legal under national legislation, 
but illicit in international law. To quote Lord Loreburn (Capture 
at Sea, p. 124) : 

" A neutral power may not itself export materials of war " — but 
'" need not prevent its subjects or citizens from selling or exporting 
materials of war. Yet it is bound to prevent them arming and exportng 
a ship intended for war." 

Moreover, supply of one belligerent is not an " unneutral service " 
provided it is open to the other belligerent to get supplies too; 
even though he manifestly can't and materially never could. Could 
anything be more absurd and anomalous ? 

Nor is the practical regulation of contraband any more satis- 
factory. We have seen (Chapter II) how the old distinction of abso- 
lute and conditional contraband was maintained in the Declaration of 
London with the addition of the " Free List." These classifications 
consisted of specific lists of goods based on no principle, but each 
subjected to very different treatment. And we saw how all this 
artificial and antiquated raffle of regulations was swept away in the 
war. We saw how naval warfare passed rapidly from its primitive 
procedure — the prevention of commerce in contraband by close 
blockade of the enemy's coast to the present-day procedure of pre- 
venting all commerce with the enemy even in neutral ships between 
neutral ports, by cordoning the high seas with cruisers and mines 


or by countermining them with submarines. And how it passed 
thereafter into a third procedure — the blockade of the future — the 
stoppage of enemy commerce at source by restrictive agreements. 
Which latest form of blockade was in the last war mainly a matter 
of private arrangement with neutral trading organizations of 
national scope. If it were to be made generally a matter of agree- 
ment between Governments as it had already become before the end 
of the war in the case of the " Rationing Agreements," it would render 
obsolete the belligerent right of seizure and search with all their 
difficulties and dangers. And this new relationship between 
belligerent navies and neutral trade must be the basis of any new 
regulation of naval and neutral rights under international law. 


The future revision of international law will have therefore to 
follow the lead given by Great Britain in 1907 and abolish the 
absurdity of contraband ; and it will have to follow the line taken by 
the British in the war and base itself on the complete control by 
neutral governments of their commerce with belligerents. Such 
control, either partial as in Foreign Enlistment Acts or complete as 
in embargoes, has in practice been exercised by neutral Governments 
in war. It has only to be recognized in principle in order to become 
the basis of a revised international law. For Governments would 
then be in a position to give expression by legislation to the public 
opinion — the consensus gentium that profiteering by private 
traders in the supply of arms to either or both belligerents is not 
only a breach of neutrality but a crime against civilization. And 
this is the principal proposal of the outlawry of war movement. 

The future revision of international law should therefore be based 
on an Anglo-American agreement either to prohibit the private 
manufacture of munitions of war, or to extend existing legislation so 
as to make a State responsible for prohibiting the export of munitions 
to a belligerent, as it is now responsible for preventing the export 
of warships. The British and American Foreign Enlistment Acts 
restrain their citizens from interventions in war to which they are en- 
titled in international law. Enlistment in the armies of a belligerent 
— equipment of a belligerent fleet outside territorial waters — sale 


of ships for conversion into cruisers, are none of them breaches of 
neutrality. But it is a breach of neutrality for a Government to 
discriminate as between belligerents in allowing its citizens to supply 
munitions ; and it would be a short step to make it a breach of 
neutrality to supply them at all. 

American legislation has gone a long way in this direction already. 
Acts of Congress (14th March, 1912 and 21st January, 1922), have 
embargoed the export of arms to neighbouring States " in condition 
of domestic violence." There have also been general international 
regulations stopping the supply of arms to savage races or disturbed 
regions, and what belligerent is not, when at war, " a savage race " 
and "in a condition of domestic violence " ? Nor has the League 
been backward. The draft Treaty on the Arms Trade was a long 
step in the right direction and was moreover acceptable to the 
United States. 1 So that we have here a line of advance in which both 
the British and American peace movements can combine in order to 
substitute for the principle of contraband an extension of recent 
national legislation and of international law — which is easy of estab- 
lishment and of enforcement. For the enforcement of neutrality 
would thereby be transferred from an international to a national 
sanction and from the prize courts of the belligerent to the police 
courts of the neutral — a great gain in itself to the comity of nations 
and to the outlawry of war. Contraband would thereby become 
for the first time really contra bannum — an outlawed traffic banned 
by the laws of the nation and by the Law of Nations. 

One advantage of this solution, and that not a small one, would 
be that it would prevent the negotiations for the revision of inter- 
national law from offering, as they have always hitherto done, oppor- 
tunities for intrigues between the national delegations to secure 
changes of the law in their own national interests. The result being 
either that nothing is done ; or else that something is done that 
someone has no intention of accepting, which is much the same. 


Contraband thus dealt with there remains blockade. And the 
crux of a future revision of sea law will be the regulation of the 

1 The Convention for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms was 
signed in 1925 but has not yet been ratified. 


independent right of economic blockade — as gradually developed 
in the last war, and as traditionally demanded by Great Britain. 
The principle on which such a regulation should be based as well as the 
object which it should have in view would be the fullest and most 
forcible application possible of theWilsonian principle, quoted above, 
so that the more intensive the blockade imposed, the more inter- 
national should be its authority and aim. But there are obvious 
difficulties to be dealt with. Blockade is, as we have seen, a most 
comprehensive and coercive weapon of sea war — in fact all other 
naval weapons are only important in their relation to it. This has 
already been recognized in international law by subjecting blockade 
to formalities not required for other naval operations. Blockade 
was declared as early as the eighteenth century (" Henrik and 
Maria," 1799), to be an act of " High Sovereignty," not at the discre- 
tion of a mere naval commander but requiring a declaration by the 
belligerent government and an official notification to neutral 
governments. This is as established a rule of international law as 
any. And it would seem that the time has now come when it could 
be further developed. That too, without any real loss to Sea Powers 
like the British who rely on naval operations and therefore on 
blockade as their main weapon. For a modern commercial blockade 
which, to be at all effective, must subject all neutral commerce to 
belligerent control, not only on the high seas but " at source " 
within the territories of the neutral, obviously cannot be applied 
without the support of the neutral governments and the sympathy 
of the neutral peoples. 

If then the British now frankly and fully accepted the application 
of the Wilsonian principle how would they stand ? They would lose 
the arbitrary power they have enjoyed of initiating and imposing 
an economic blockade for slowly starving and strangling their 
enemy. This power enabled them, we will assume, to defeat 
Napoleonism and Kaiserism in the interest, we will assume, of the 
world at large. But this power they have, in fact, already lost. The 
arbitrary assertion of it against Napoleonism cost them a war with 
America and made America a naval Power. The arbitrary assertion 
of it against Kaiserism was throughout controlled in its application 
by America and made America a rival sea Power. It only became 
really effective when exercised in conjunction with America after 


its entry into war. The future exercise of it, except in association 
with America, or with American approval, will be impossible. 
Why not then now associate with America and remove the risk of a 
naval competition that would probably end in naval conflict ? 

Moreover, there is another consideration. Blockade is the weapon 
of a long war of attrition and it looks as though any future war of 
" all-in "or " all-out " character will be a short war of abolition. 
Secondary and localized wars, such as may — and possibly must — 
continue for some time yet, can be left under the old-fashioned rules 
requiring close blockade and other out-of-date restrictions. But it 
looks as though in any future " all-in " and " all-out " war, naval 
blockade will in the first stage be rendered obsolete by air and under- 
water blockade ; and as though, in the second stage, all blockade 
will be made obsolete by air bombardment. 

Even if this is considered as looking too far ahead, there is an 
objection to economic blockade which has been made very obvious 
to the British by its results in the Great War. Namely, that though 
it undoubtedly in time reduces their enemy to ruin and revolution, 
yet it thereby recoils almost as heavily on themselves as merchants 
and middlemen by destroying the markets for their manufacturers 
and making their customers self-supporting. It was the blockade 
of the Napoleonic wars that made foreign countries the competitors 
of the British in industries they might otherwise have monopolized 
for many years. 

Above and beyond all other advantages to the British in resigning 
the right of extreme economic blockade to an Anglo-American 
association would be that they would gain immunity for their 
commerce as a neutral against belligerent interference without the 
present enormous expenditure on a fleet as a " war insurance." 


So far then, the British and American peace movements can 
combine for a common revision of sea law, and for the common 
regulation of Freedom of the Seas. There is, however, one feature 
in the American " outlawry " resolution — a feature clearly inspired 
by American " legalism " and " anti-Leaguism " — that is not, in 
the opinion of the writers, sound, and that certainly cannot easily 


be seconded by British peace movements. That feature is the 
proposal to set up a new international jurisdiction and tribunals in 
substitution for those of the Hague and of the League. Thus, the 
Borah resolution (see Appendix) cites the Federal Supreme Court 
as a precedent and as a pattern for a new international Court of 
Justice. Whereas the Supreme Court interprets a written constitu- 
tion and has behind it the sanction of a Federal force — and whereas 
a resort to force to execute judgments of that jurisdiction did, in 
fact, lead to one of the bloodiest of civil wars. A closer precedent 
would be the Central American Court of Justice, set up in 1907 in 
much the same way as a counterblast to the Hague, which had 
compulsory jurisdiction but no sanctions ; and which has been a 
complete failure. Apart from the risk of setting up rival judicatures 
with a general jurisdiction, there is the consideration that judicial 
arbitration and international litigation is of a strictly limited utility 
as a preventive of war. It is a procedure of great value when there 
is a definite acceptance of jurisdiction and a distinct judicial issue. 
But it is a fallacy to assume that law Courts and Arbitral Tribunals 
will prevent war between countries in the international relationship 
any more than they prevent civil wars, or class wars, in the internal 

The " outlawry of war " movement has therefore nothing to gain 
in the cause of peace by not pressing at present these " legalist " 
proposals for Courts and Tribunals, in competition with those of the 
Hague and the League, on the acceptance of European peoples. 
That there should continue to be international Courts for the arbi- 
tration of pan- American affairs is, on the other hand, desirable. 
And such Courts would have a place in any regionally organized 
League as hereafter proposed. 


There remains one other difficulty to clear out of the way before 
Americans and British— before " legalists " of the " outlawry " 
movement and " Leaguists " of the " all-in arbitration " movement 
— can get together. Both wish to outlaw war and to enthrone 
peace. But you cannot renounce war until you know what you 
mean by war. And both parties have at present different definitions 


of war and will not accept one another's. And both are right. 
Because neither definition is practical — and probably no definition 
is possible. 

The Americans have now adopted the French formula of renounc- 
ing " war as an instrument of national policy." The British prefer 
the formula of renouncing " wars of aggression " and further, define 
" aggression " as refusal to arbitrate, a definition adopted also by 
the " Capper " resolution (see Appendix). Either definition is 
equally dangerous. The first means nothing at all. The second 
may mean too much. We have already given one example — the 
Spanish-American war — when it would have been disastrous. We 
could easily give half a dozen others. 

War is, in fact, too complex a condition to be penalized under 
any treaty formula. And each renunciation of war for which each 
modern State is at present prepared is far too limited and local in 
character to be expressed in any general obligation. For example, 
France and Italy would now be prepared to renounce war in their 
relations with distant Powers like the United States, but not so in 
relations with their close neighbours. The United States and Soviet 
Union would be prepared to make a general renunciation of war, 
naturally in good faith, but also necessarily with various tacit 
reservations. The British Empire on the other hand is so con- 
scientious in considering every contingency, that it is apparently 
prepared to make an all-in treaty of arbitration with Uruguay but 
not with Switzerland. In short, nothing more can be got on these 
lines than a voeu pieux in a preamble, that means little more than 
the old-fashioned invocation to Divine Providence which used to 
prelude all treaties of military alliance for aggression. 

But it does not follow that nothing can be done to " outlaw war " 
provided that the nature of the disease be studied and the prophy- 
lactics properly adapted to it. There was a time in the history of 
medicine when half a dozen quite distinct diseases were all lumped 
together as " inflammation of the bowels," and another score at 
least as " putrid fever " ; Medicine never got beyond nostrums 
and panaceas until it had distinguished the different diseases and 
discerned their diff erent causes. Medical prescriptions still begin 
with a pious formula meaning " Oh, Jupiter, aid us " ; but no great 
reliance is placed on this pagan invocation by the patient. 


The formulae hitherto advanced, and any that are at all likely to 
be accepted, do not, be it observed, exclude war in the shape of 
armed action for police purposes. The British, like other members 
of the League, cannot bind themselves not to take armed action in 
support of League sanctions that might become a major offensive 
operation. The Americans would certainly require to be free to 
take similar police action under the Monroe doctrine. Provision 
will also have to be made for minor police operations like the British 
expedition to China or the American expedition to Nicaragua, even 
though these may look to British and American Progressives very 
like private wars of aggression for imperialist aims. Or it might 
be considered necessary to have a pacific blockade and economic 
boycott that would not, under the old system of international law, 
have counted as war like the * ' sanitary cordon ' ' against Russia. Or it 
might be a bitter war of extermination against some racial or 
religious minority that similarly would not have counted as war 
because of the sovereignty claimed by the ruling race — a claim that 
was itself the cause of trouble. Or it might be a war of liberation 
to recover one of the many national irredenta created by the peace 
treaties which would, of course, be conducted under cover of sup- 
porting a rising or revolt in the area coveted. All these we have 
seen since the war and shall see many more in spite of " obligatory M 
arbitration, treaties, and " outlawry of war " movements. 

But war can be outlawed in a sense, and the American peace 
movement is on sounder lines in approaching war from this point 
of view than is the British movement in trying to legalize it by 
League sanctions and Locarno pacts. But if the British movement 
has gone rather too far in making concessions to facts, the American 
movement has not yet gone far enough in this process. For war 
can only be outlawed progressively and practically, that is, by 
dealing not merely with the entry into war but with the exercise 
of it. Otherwise there is a danger that denunciation of war will 
become, like the declaration of war, merely a paper formula. The 
controversy between those who would denounce " wars of 
aggression " and those who would renounce " war as an instrument 
of policy " is really as academic as the controversy between Freedom 
and Command of the Seas. 



War, and more especially naval war, cannot be abolished by a 
a stroke of the pen — the sword is mightier than the pen in its own 
sphere. All that the pen can do as yet is to restrict the use of the 
sword and so regulate its lunges and parries — that the least damage 
may be done in a duel that cannot yet be suppressed. 

The fears of navalists lest their freedom in war be hampered, and 
the fears of pacifists lest any sort of war be given any sort of accept- 
ance, have diverted the attention of reformers from making use of 
what is one of the most helpful facts for peacemakers — namely, 
that war is not as jurists represent it — a status differentiated from 
peace by a deadline that has to be crossed formally and finally. 

This legal fiction has its use for popular pacifist propaganda no 
doubt. Because, just as in war propaganda, the first step is to 
distinguish between the enemy and yourself, and represent him as 
an inhuman Boche or Bolshy or Borjoy, and yourself as a crusader 
and a patriot, so in peace propaganda a caricature of war must be 
clearly outlined in order that war may be " outlawed " in public 
opinion. But this fiction is not fact. The fact is that war as a 
disease is a phase of crowd psychology — a failure in the structure 
of civilization — a fever in the body politic of humanity, that grows 
gradually unless checked. War, as an act of sovereignty, is a police 
measure for the protection of a community that may become a 
danger to civilization as a whole. War as an international institution 
is merely a rough and ready recognition of the fact that, beyond a 
certain point, a change of regulation becomes necessary and certain 
regulations respected in peace become unrealizable. The crossing of 
this line, like the crossing of a frontier, is rightly made a Rubicon 
so that a final and fatal step may be a matter for reflection. But 
just as the crossing of frontiers by armed forces is to-day no longer 
a sufficient evidence of the first recourse to war by a nation, so the 
frontier in international law between war and peace is no longer 
sufficient as a criterion. The time has come when instead of one 
line between war and peace there might be several, at each of which 
the moderation of the more pacific nationals and the mediation of 
the peaceable neutrals might be given a procedure for expression 


and effort, and the war machines and war momentums might be 
given pause. 

Such a classification of war is no concession to the disease. On 
the contrary, it is a contradiction of the now prevailing concession 
that after a certain very early phase of the disease further prophy- 
lactics against more fatal paroxysms are useless. War conditions 
are as much more complicated and comprehensive now than in the 
past as peace conditions are. There is to-day not a peace relation- 
ship above the line and a war relationship below it, each governed 
by a different set of human and divine laws. That is legal theory 
and latitudinarian theology. And with these we have no concern 
here. But a more sound and sane view of war is that of a descending 
curve of common sympathies and common sense in the relations 
between two communities. This leads at first slowly then swiftly 
as warlike interests and ideals become respectively profitable and 
passionate through a whole series of war phases. Some of these 
phases of war, such as a pacific blockade or an economic boycott, 
have already been classified by international lawyers and considered 
as transitional. Others still M above the line " are rupture of 
diplomatic relations like that which we have to-day with Russia, 
closing of the frontier such as Lithuania has to-day with Poland, 
or a police occupation such as that of the British in China or of 
the Americans in Nicaragua. All of these last entail loss of life, 
the use of armed force, and have all the features and effects of war. 
But they are all of them already recognized as not necessarily 
transforming the relationship of the countries concerned on to a 
war footing. 

Now the worst of warfare in the future will be that it will tend 
to pass much more swiftly through these preliminary processes in 
which it can be kept under control with comparative ease. Arab 
or Berber tribes may endure having their habitations bombed from 
the air as a police measure of peaceful penetration in the cause of 
civilization. This can be done in the name of peace because they 
are not Sovereign States, because international law takes no cog- 
nisance of them, and because they cannot therefore declare war. 
But it is certain that the first air bomb dropped on a European 
capital will blow that community straight into the full blast of 
war psychology and the full blaze of an unrestricted war of reprisals. 


It would seem therefore to be the first task of those British con- 
cerned with the enthronement of peace, or of those Americans 
concerned with the outlawry of war, now to extend the classification 
of hostilities so as to throw as much responsibility as possible on the 
State that passes from one phase to another and to give pacifist 
public opinion an opportunity at each phase to call for consideration. 


That police wars are still indispensable will be admitted by all but 
the most fanatical pacifists. That idealist wars for national liberties 
or irredentist wars for native lands are probable will be allowed by 
all but the most cynical politicians. That even political wars for 
imperialist interests or ideals are impossible, only the most 
optimistic Utopists would assert. That in an " all-in " war which 
includes most of the principal Powers they will fight " all-out " irre- 
spective of restrictions or regulations is also now only too obvious. 
Wherefore men of good will who seek their promised peace on earth 
will not best ensue it by enclosing the legal status of peace in a 
ring fence of international law courts and arbitral tribunals. The 
Dove of Peace cannot be kept by having a wall built round it 
as the Wise Men of Gotham tried to keep the cuckoo and the 

War is a disease that cannot be exorcised by the spells of wise 
women or wizard spell-binders. Peacemakers had better begin by 
clearly defining each step and each stage into war from the first 
stage of the pacific pressure of one people on another for the common 
good, down to the last stage of an all-in and all-out Armageddon. 
Then at each step and at each stage those nationals who retain 
their patience and prudence, and those neutrals who are in a position 
to bring pressure to bear, can use whatever machinery for pacific 
settlement is available and appropriate. 

What has to be prevented in the first place is the automatic 
declanchement of the war machines that gather momentum from 
their own mobilization until one is shattered or civilization itself 
is shaken into ruins. What has to be prevented in the second place 
is the risk lest Powers with large naval and military armaments 
may independently initiate intervention in the affairs of other 


nations claiming that it is a police operation in the interest of 
civilization ; whereas they really have interested and imperialistic 
objects in view. An " outlawry of war " procedure to be really 
effective must guard both these approaches to war. 


Let us look at the symptoms of the war evils before suggesting 
a treatment. Since the Great War, though all the world wanted 
peace and " peace " has been nominally maintained, the peoples of 
both Europe and America have, as a matter of fact, been drifted into 
police wars and have even been driven into political wars. 

Take the British only. Since 1919 they have, without entering 
into formal war, engaged in all the features of war with Russians 
Chinese, Arabs, Afghans, Egyptians, and Irish. They have not 
realized it in some cases ; and in others, when they did realize it, 
they themselves stopped it. But in the two cases in which war 
was stopped, those of Russia and Turkey, they could only do so 
by the threat of an unconstitutional " strike action " in the first 
case and by almost as severe a strain on their imperial institutions 
in the second. When the Trades Union Councils of Action brought 
about peace with Socialist Russia, and the Dominion Governments 
brought about peace with Nationalist Turkey, they were doing 
useful work that should have been done by proper machinery 
without straining as it did the whole political structure. And with 
a proper classification of war in international law such machinery 
can be provided internally, imperially, and internationally. 


We are only concerned with naval warfare here, and it would be 
out of place to develop this in too great detail. But as the Anglo- 
American association, here advocated, will be the sanction of a 
new system of sea law in war, its first task in framing that system 
should be to fix new " frontiers " for the various forms of war. 
These will in turn give more and better opportunities than at present 
exist for maintaining peace by arbitration and mediation. A 


present at the outbreak of war a powerful neutral, or neutrals, 
enquire of the future belligerents what rules for the regulation of 
neutral commerce they intend to impose — as did the United States 
in 1914. And if after an outbreak of war belligerents impose 
restrictions which neutrals consider excessive the latter protest and 
prevent this — as' did the neutrals in the case of the Italo-Turkish 
hostilities in the Dardanelles in 1910, and the Americans and British 
in the Russo-Japanese war at the beginning of the century. What 
is wanted now is that naval warfare be classified into a few main 
phases corresponding to the main forms it may now take. 

Thus a first phase might be that of a national commercial boycott 
of the enemy, and a blockade of the enemy naval forces and for- 
tresses only ; which would not be allowed to affect neutral com- 
mercial interests at all. This phase of war might for the present 
be left as a legitimate means of pressure which should be still open 
to any national policy and would not call for any international 
intervention beyond the usual recognition of belligerency. Though 
it would, of course, be excluded by any treaty between the two 
parties which renounced war as an instrument of policy. 

The next phase, for which the approval of an Armed Neutrality 
would have to be obtained under existing international law, would 
be that of hostilities between the armed forces and a close com- 
mercial blockade on the old lines. This would be war as hitherto 
understood, and the rules of international law as hitherto applied 
could continue in force for its regulation with modern modifications. 
For an Armed Neutrality, based on an Anglo-American association, 
could now give these old rules the development that they had 
almost attained when the Great War broke out, by establishing the 
immunity of private property at sea in restriction of the right of 

This would be of great benefit to these two Powers themselves 
as neutrals in the secondary private wars that are likely to continue 
for some years yet ; while it would be no serious bar to their 
belligerency in any secondary or police war they might undertake 
on these old-fashioned lines. 

And the third and final phase of naval war would be represented 
by such an unrestricted economic blockade and sea and air bombard- 
ment as developed in the last war and will, unless prevented, destroy 


civilization in the next. This is an inhuman innovation in war 
which calls urgently for innovations in international law. It should 
be made " illegal " to put any people through this " third degree " 
of warfare, and those who do so should rightly be regarded as 
" outlaw." It should therefore be provided that any belligerent 
who feels it requisite to engage in such extremities of warfare by 
way of reprisals should have to justify this action to neutrals, 
whether associated in an Armed Neutrality or in a League of Nations 
or both, by explaining the enemy act which called for reprisal and 
by exposing the war aims on account of which the interests of 
neutrals and the existence of civilization are being imperilled. 
This was more or less done during the Great War and has also been 
done, more or less, in previous wars whenever the exercises of 
belligerency seemed to neutral third parties to be too extreme for the 
ends in view and too expensive for their own neutral nationals. 
Such neutral intervention has, in a more civilized or sentimental 
generation, been made effective on humanitarian grounds alone. 
For example, when Turkey extended its suppression of the Greek 
War of Independence to the point of sacking the whole Peloponnese 
and of selling the population into slavery, an armed neutrality, 
just a century ago, destroyed the Turco-Egyptian fleet at Navarino. 
What is now required is not so much to outlaw all formal 
war, which can be little more than a pious wish, or to outlaw 
certain forms of war, such as aeroplanes, submarines, gas-bombs, 
and explosive bullets, which is a matter of policy ; but to throw 
as much onus and odium as possible on recourse to the more onerous 
and odious weapons of war. 

Under such a regulation belligerents will have to weigh the cost 
before having recourse to these extreme forms of war and will not 
lightly resort to them by way of reprisals and under cover of 
international law. It seems safe to assert that had such a gradation 
of war existed in 1914, and had neutral America had a firm footing 
in international law for penalizing, with an embargo or with entry 
into the war, each successive recourse by either belligerent to un- 
restricted warfare, America need never have entered the war and 
Europe could by now have established peace. What is now required 
is a formal obligation to obtain neutral approval at each entry of 
the war into a more extreme form ; so that an Armed Neutrality 


and, or, the League of Nations, at each reprisal that sends the war 
" rattling into barbarism," may have an opportunity and an 
obligation of enforcing the Wilsonian principle that there must be — 

" absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas outside territorial waters 
alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in 
part by international action for the enforcement of international 


So much then as regards the future revision of international law, 
which can only be dealt with here very broadly and briefly. Now 
to return to Freedom of the Seas and the Wilsonian principle. 

It is, as we have shown, the exclusion of this principle from the 
peace terms that has, in the course of a few years, caused the present 
rift in Anglo-American relations and the present risk of a rivalry in 
naval armaments. How can this principle now be brought back 
as the foundation for a future world peace in a form acceptable to 
the different points of view of the British and American pacifist 
movements and also in a form agreeable to the divergent policies 
of the professional and political rulers of the two peoples ? 

The Wilsonian principle will obviously have to be recorded in a 
Treaty between the two States of which the sanction will be their 
joint sea power, to which other sea Powers may as soon as possible 
accede. Therefore a formula must be found that will make a 
popular appeal by presenting itself as an outlawry of war and that 
will, at the same time, be acceptable to Governments as a practical 
appreciation of hard facts. The following is only a suggestion. 
Such forms of words have their importance, but they can be almost 
infinitely varied. Whereas, in the opinion of the writers, the general 
line of action here laid down is, broadly speaking, the only one 
likely to lead to any satisfactory settlement. 

It is suggested, then, that a Treaty might now be concluded 
between the British Empire and the United States which would — 
(a) reciprocally renounce war as an instrument of national policy 
or recourse to war as a settlement of their disputes. Which would 
— (b) recognize that naval armaments should be reduced by ratio 
to the force required for an imperial and international police. 
Which would — (c) resolve that no international police operations 


should be undertaken by one party except in conjunction with, or 
by the consent of, the other. And which should — (d) provide that 
the parties would concert together for the revision of international 
law in the regulation of naval warfare. 

This would, in other words, impose an obligation not to prepare 
or prosecute major warfare : to disarm to the lowest limit con- 
sistent with the prevention of piratical warfare and the protection 
of their coasts under the new conditions established by the guarantee 
of associated Sea Power : last, but not least, to provide a procedure 
to check either party, or any third party, from passing out of 
restricted into unrestricted naval warfare. For the first effect of 
these combined obligations would be that, in order to relieve one 
Government from having to obtain the consent of the other to each 
separate and successive act of a police war, these acts would have 
to be grouped and graduated under the rules of international law 
as revised. 

By thus bringing the forms of international law again into relation 
with the facts of war we shall get, on the one hand, the means and 
method for " continuous mediation," the absence of which frustrated 
America's attempt to end the Great War in the winter of 1916-17 
and forced it to enter the war in order to make peace. We shall 
get, on the other hand, stages and stopping-places where the 
momentum of the war machines can be braked in their headlong 
career and the dogs of war checked in their hot pursuit of havoc. 
The absurdity of the present arrangement by which the forces, 
neutral or national, in favour of peace are formally debarred from 
intervention once war is declared will be ended. They will be 
enabled to develop and use their peace machinery, whatever it 
may be, as '* legally " as the war forces now use their war machines 
for carrying the war from strength to strength. It is best to recog- 
nize that in the present stage of the development of public opinion 
all wars cannot be stopped all the time ; having done that we shall 
at once realize how all wars can be stopped some of the time and 
some wars all of the time. 


Nor would this continuous check on the exercise of war in any 
way weaken such other checks on entry into war as have already 


been arranged or may later be agreed. These checks on entering 
into war may be classified broadly as (a) moral checks, (b) mora- 
toriums, and (c) material checks. 

The moral check, which involves indicting and, if necessary, 
penalizing the belligerent for aggression, or some other offence 
requiring definition, is difficult, and, as we claim to have shown, 
dangerous. The Americans are, in our opinion, justified in objecting 
to the sanctions of the Covenant which would have to be applied 
on such moral grounds, and the British are equally justified in 
objecting to the American reliance on the moral authority of 
International Tribunals. 

These objections do not apply to the principle of the moratorium 
or postponement of war pending a joint enquiry, which is the 
principle of the Bryan Conciliation Treaties, of which the further 
establishment and extension is favoured by the British Government. 
(See later). 

The material checks on war, like disarmament or neutralization 
of zones and seas, are better still. For aggression in such cases can 
generally be automatically assigned. There can hardly be any 
dispute as to which party first arms in defiance of a disarmament 
agreement, or advances into a zone or sea in defiance of its demilitar- 
ization. For example, the responsibility for the violation of Belgian 
neutrality could not be rejected by Germany. Whereas, responsi- 
bility for aggression, as imposed by Art. 231 of the Treaty of 
Versailles, on general grounds, has been resented and will, at the 
first opportunity, be repudiated. The Geneva Protocol very properly 
provided that violation of a demilitarized zone should be equivalent 
to a recourse to war. The neutralization of Narrow Seas, advocated 
above, would be a similar material check easily enforcible by sea 

But the best check on war would be an Armed Neutrality based 
on Anglo-American sea power, not only stopping entry into war 
but also the exercise of it at each successive stage. As we have 
seen (Chaps. I and II) the naval force of neutrals has been hitherto 
the only real sanction for international law. And as we have also 
seen (Chap. Ill) it was at first the obvious and only sanction con- 
templated for the Peace League that was to restore the regime of 
international law after the war. It is still, no less obviously, the 


only means of bringing the United Kingdom and the United States 
together for reconstruction and re-establishing international law at 
sea without running our heads against the objections of the Americans 
to the present League and its sanctions. 


What then, is the line a British Government should take so as 
to bring British and Americans together ? Can this be done without 
years of education of British and American public opinion ? We 
think it can if the avenues of approach to the better understanding 
as here outlined be explored by a British Government. 

Unfortunately this question is one in which the British people 
cannot be relied on to react solely to reason. Public opinion 
generally reacts to sentiment, and there is, in this case, a traditional 
sentiment that can be only too easily exploited by opposition 
interests. Indeed, a Liberal or a Labour Government that faced 
facts and tried to substitute at one sweep anything so abstract and 
novel as an Anglo-American association at sea for something so 
consecrated and concrete as British battleships might deserve well 
of its country but would not get its deserts. And we have already 
said that the educational powers of a Conservative Government, 
through its contact with the ruling class and the Press and 
the reputation that party possesses for putting national before 
international interests, would enable it to carry out concessions 
that it could easily make fatal to its opponents if undertaken by 

A Liberal or Labour Government could best succeed by effecting 
such a dramatic change of atmosphere on taking office, as would 
carry its first objective with a rush and get the opposition on the 
run. In order to recover the confidence of our transatlantic cousins, 
without risking the confidence of our own countrymen, recourse 
would have to be had to a certain generosity of gesture. 


The world's a stage, and the art of political leadership is the art of 
playing a lead. All schools of acting now have classes of gestures — 


gestures how to come into a room and how to go out, how to shake 
hands or shake a fist. Politicians have also to learn how to come 
into office and how to go out, how to join hands across the sea and 
how to bang a fist on the board. 

A gesture in foreign affairs must cost little and yet convey much 
meaning. Therefore, if it is to get across to the audience, it must 
appeal to their peculiar point of view. Now the particular vanity 
of the British is Command of the Seas and that of the Americans is 
Freedom of the Seas. So that an effective gesture by one party 
will do well to appeal to the respective u vanity " of the other in 
the hope of getting a corresponding gesture that will give it some 
sop for its own many-headed Cerberus. 

Let us take first as an illustration a series of moves that graduate 
from mere gestures into real gifts — that range in fact from a little 
u hot air " that would just take the chill off the atmosphere to the 
conversion of stones of offence into corner-stones and foundation- 
stones of a better relationship. A pure gesture, for example, might 
make Stratford-on-Avon an international territory under both flags 
and administered by this English Speaking Union. A further 
development of the same idea would put the Bahamas, that resort 
of American millionaires and rum-runners, under joint administra- 
tion. This would be more effective as a gesture because of its 
tangible concession to the Monroe doctrine and its tactful considera- 
tion for American municipal legislation. 


But a gesture and a gift that would appeal to American " Freedom 
of the Seas " sentiment would be a clear declaration of policy, 
preferably in Parliament, by the Prime Minister in the House of 
Commons and by the Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords, that 
we are prepared to propose a revision of the Covenant of the League 
of Nations so as to embody the second of President Wilson's Fourteen 
Points, thus in effect renouncing the right of a private blockade in a 
private war. 

In return for some such gesture as this the Americans, who are 
usually ready to outbid us in generosity, might make us some gift 
that would appeal equally to British sentiment and equally appease 


British suspicions. And then " after compliments," as they say in 
Oriental negotiations, it might be possible to include in a future 
settlement a deal by which a British concession to the Monroe 
doctrine would be balanced against an American concession to 
Command of the Sea. For example, we might let all our West 
Indian and South American territories be included in a demilitarized 
zone, and the Americans might concede to our insular position and 
peculiar ideals some sort of superiority in surface warships of the 
police cruiser type under the future ratio of navies as reduced to 
forces for police purposes. 


Or a British Government might give notice to the League of 
Nations that it would not apply economic sanctions under Art. XVI 
of the Covenant, by naval action, without the United States' consent, 
and that it would not take such action against any American State 
without the United States' co-operation. This would only be 
formulating what is already the fact : that no League blockade can 
be at all effective without American approval, and that no such 
blockade contrary to the Monroe doctrine can be enforced at all. 

The more whole-hearted and whole-hogging Leaguers might 
dislike this as looking like turning down Geneva in order to take 
up Washington, because they believe that the American outlawers 
have deep designs against the League and against the Locarno Pact. 
We shall let Senator Borah, leader of the American outlawers, 
answer this himself from a recent article (New York Times, 5th 
February, 1928) : — 

" Is there anything which one can conceive so well calculated to 
advance the cause of peace and to strengthen the League and Locarno 
as a pledge among the Great Powers that they will never recognize war 
as an instrument for the settlement of international disputes and that 
they will adjust their differences in accordance with the methods provided 
in the League and Locarno for peaceful adjustment ? If the leading Powers 
make this pledge and keep it, there will indeed be little chance of war. 
If they do not keep it, neither the League nor Locarno have been 

Again, our French friends might dislike such a gesture as looking 


like cutting them out on the line in which M. Briand gave the lead 
last year, but which they have been unable to carry to its logical 
conclusion in their Treaty negotiation. But they have no cause to 
complain. The British have pledged their last man and last shilling 
for defence of the French land frontier in the Locarno Pact. The 
frontier of England is the sea. The framework of the Empire is the 
sea. The seizure of a British tramp steamer is as serious for the 
British as the seizure of a French frontier station is to the French- 
The only safeguard of the British is Command of the Sea, and that 
is seriously challenged. France has the safeguard of the strongest 
army and air force in the world, reinforced by the Locarno guaran- 
tees and by the garrisons maintained in the Rhineland in disregard 
of the international interests of Europe. We therefore may, with 
no injury to French interests and in justice to the interests of our- 
selves and others, secure our own safety and strengthen the real 
sanctions for peace by association with America. 

The French and every other people stand to gain, not lose, by an 
association between British and Americans. And, despite some 
recent Anglo-American rapprochement due to reciprocal reductions 
in cruiser construction, the French and every other people know 
that these two leading Sea Powers have "parted brass-rags.'' 
Though some diplomatic circles indulge in " schadenfreude " over 
this, the wiser French observers deplore it as a disaster to the League 
and a danger to the peace. 

Mons. Jacques Bainville, writing in the Action Franchise, the 
organ of the Right (22nd January, 1928), stated that as Great 
Britain is purely a Naval Power her contributory vajue to European 
security or to the application of League sanctions is nullified by the 
United States. 

" If England," he says, " refuses to tie her hands or sign a blank 
cheque it is not merely because of her tradition of splendid isolation nor 
because of her sacred egoism. The knot of the crucial problem is to be 
found in the phrase ' Freedom of the Seas.' If the American Senate 
disavowed President Wilson it was because he had yielded to Mr. Lloyd 
George on this question. If, after the failure of the Geneva Conference 
for the limitation of cruisers, President Coolidge announces the con- 
struction of an armada, it must be understood as meaning simply this — 
that one of the greatest Naval Powers in the world intends to declare that 


in the future Great Britain must, like any other country, renounce the 
right of blockade or fight if she means to keep it. 

" Now if the worst came to the worst Great Britain might well fight 
to preserve this arm of blockade for her personal defence. It is unlikely 
that she would enter into conflict with the United States in order to use 
the right of blockade as a sanction on behalf of the League of Nations and 
for the benefit of other countries." 

We commend this view of an eminent French publicist to those 
extreme Leaguers who resent constructive criticism of the Council 
or Covenant as at present constituted. And we, who are both 
supporters of the League, believe that the Washington Mahomet 
will not come to the Geneva Mountain as things are, but that the 
mountain can be moved by faith. We believe that it will have to 
be moved if the sanctions to which the French attach so much 
importance are not to be a delusion and a danger. 


We have shown in Chapter III that something has already been 
done on both sides to retrace the wrong course laid by both countries 
since the Geneva debacle. But there is no time to be lost in follow- 
ing up the concessions as to warship construction by the British and 
Americans. For the peace of Europe is not secured and will not be 
secured until it includes the Freedom of the Seas ; and the danger has 
actually been increased by the peace machinery set up since the war. 
For supposing that war between two Great Powers breaks out on the 
Continent of Europe, despite the efforts of the League. Then, 
either the League of Nations functions, or it fails finally. If the 
latter, the struggle will spread and the Great War repeats itself, 
with America intervening this time, in all probability, against the 
British. But if the League functions, presumably one Power will 
be adjudged the aggressor and, under Art. XVI of the Covenant, 
be blockaded. The blockade of the aggressor will have — in order 
to be in any way effective — to be enforced against all members and 
non-members of the League of Nations, amongst the latter being 
the United States of America. And the naval sanctions for the 
blockade will be exercised mainly by the British Navy. This again 
would lead to a conflict between British and American Command 


of the Seas. And this is the sort of dangerous dilemma that gives 
uneasiness to experts and that underlies the panics in the Press. 
Lord Cecil, for example, tells us, and he should know (House of 
Lords, 15th February, 1928) : 

"... I look at the situation (in Europe) as precarious, with no immediate 
danger threatening, but not likely to be long continued in this condition. 
I believe that if we are to erect barriers against war, it must be done 
within the next three or four years — five or six years at the outside. 
That is the time when we shall have the feeling of the late war to back us 
and enable us to erect these barriers. If we do not do it then it will not 
be done at all." 

Sir Austen Chamberlain, in November 1927 last, replying to a 
vote of censure moved by the Labour Party, which, amongst other 
things, regretted the slow progress of the League of Nations Com- 
mission on Disarmament, spoke as follows : 

" Suppose," he said — and it is a supposition which we can permit 
ourselves, in view of what he called our close and affectionate relations 
with France ; if those relations were not as close and intimate as they 
are, it is an illustration that none of us would like to use — " suppose," he 
said, " that France was called an aggressor by the League ; suppose that 
we were ordered to blockade the French coast and to cut off France 
from commerce with the outer world ; what consequences might that 
have for us, and, what Navy should we need, if we were to undertake 
such obligations as that ? " 

One of the present writers here interrupted the Foreign Secretary 
to remind him that we have that obligation already under the 
Covenant, to which he replied : 

" There is an immense difference between our obligations under the 
Covenant as it stands — onerous as they are, in some respects dangerous as 
they may be thought to be by reason of the fact that Great Powers have 
stood outside the League who were expected to form part of it — there is 
a great difference between the Covenant as it stands and the kind of fresh 
obligations that the Rt. Hon. gentleman (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) 
vaguely thinks we might undertake in order to pool the security of the 
world. His Majesty's Government have pursued a more restricted, a 
more modest policy." (Hansard, November 24th, 1927, col. 2114, Vol. 210, 
No. 124.) 


This suggests that the Foreign Secretary has in his mind the 
difficulties that might arise with the United States through the 
application of the existing Covenant of the League, apart from 
the added obligations proposed under the Protocol. 

Yet there is no evidence so far of any official attempt being made, 
either at Washington or in London, to clarify this difficult situation. 
And it might become critical at any time through the League of 
Nations. All that is being done on both sides of the Atlantic is to 
build warships. 

Yet, as the King's Speech at the opening of the 1928 Session tells 
us, negotiations are proceeding between London and Washington 
for a new Arbitration Treaty. What an opportunity these negotia- 
tions offer for restoring relations of confidence and co-operation by 
gestures for the outlawry of war or by gifts as to the revision of the 
League ! Why should not a British Government meet half-way the 
American movement for outlawry of war ? Sir Austen Chamberlain 
has already said in Parliament that war between the British and 
the Americans is " outlawed in our hearts." Why not then outlaw 
it over our hand and seal in a solemn treaty ? 


Since the first Anglo-American Arbitration Treaty of 1897, arbi- 
tration has been an important instrument in assuring amity between 
the two peoples. It would require a book in itself to review the 
history of arbitration in Anglo-American relations and to explain 
its failures and successes. The difficulty of making arbitration 
treaties has hitherto lain in finding general formulae that will reserve 
the constitutional powers of the American Senate in foreign rela- 
tions, and that will recognize the requirements of American domestic 
policy as to excluding from arbitration special subjects, some of 
secondary importance. Failure in these respects has led to rejection 
by the Senate of two important arbitration treaties, that of 1897 
(Olney-Paunceforte) and that of 1912 (Knox-Bryce). But in spite 
of the special local difficulties of arbitration above referred to, the 
" legalism " of American public life has made arbitration treaties 
specially popular with American Governments anxious to placate 
pacific opinion and " play a lead " in foreign relations. At present 


two treaties are in force, one of 1908 (Root-Bryce) and one of 1914 
(Bryan-Spring Rice). Both of these form part of a series concluded 
by the United States with other Powers. 

The Root (1908) series are arbitration treaties which refer to the 
Hague Court all legal disputes and the interpretation of treaties, 
provided they do not affect " the vital interests," the independence 
or " honour " of the contracting States and do not concern " third 
parties." This formula, first found in the Anglo-French Treaty of 
1903, of course allows of almost any dispute being excluded. But 
as, in fact, arbitration cannot be forced on an unwilling Government 
the formula does not deserve all the condemnation it has received 
from pacifist publicists. Their ambition to put Governments under 
constraint to arbitrate by " all-in " obligations has dangers which 
cannot here be dealt with, but are obvious to all those with any 
experience of public affairs. It must suffice to point out that public 
opinion has its phases and that politics has its parties, so that an 
inevitable and inviolable obligation honestly engaged in, may, under 
certain circumstances, greatly embarrass and exacerbate a subsequent 
crisis developed under different conditions. The moral onus of an 
obligation and the odium of its repudiation are useful pillars of 
peace, but should not be overloaded. 


The " Root " series of arbitration treaties have come up periodically 
for renewal in 1913, 1918 and 1923. In view of their renewal and 
possible revision this spring, France, whose treaty was earliest in 
point of date (23rd February) submitted (June 1927) a 
draft of a " Pact of Perpetual Friendship " which should " renounce, 
war as an instrument of national policy," and resolve that disputes 
be only settled by " pacific means." This was a fine gesture — but 
it failed for reasons that do not here concern us. Mr. Kellogg took six 
months to think it over. He then proposed (December 1927) a 
revision of the Root formula by substituting for " National honour " 
and " vital interest " the forms " domestic matters " and the 
" Monroe doctrine." And shortly after (5th January, 1928) he 
proposed not a bi-lateral renunciation of war between France and 
America, but a general " outlawry of war." He stated that : 


" The Government of the United States is prepared, therefore, to 
concert with the Government of France with a view to the conclusion 
of a Treaty among the principal Powers of the world, open to signature 
by all as an instrument of national policy in favour of the pacific settle- 
ment of international disputes." 

To this M. Briand replied the following day in a note which con- 
cluded as follows : 

"lam authorised to inform you that the Government of the Republic 
is ready to join with the United States Government in submitting for 
the approval of all nations an agreement which shall be signed beforehand 
by France and the United States and by the terms of which the high 
contracting parties shall bind themselves to refrain from any war of 
aggression and shall declare that they will have recourse, for the settlement 
of disputes of whatever nature, which may arise between them, to all 
possible pacific means. The high contracting parties would undertake 
to bring this agreement to the notice of all other States and to invite 
them to subscribe to it. . . ." 

The introduction of the qualifying " war of aggression " was, 
practically, because France is not prepared to outlaw war with 
European neighbours and, professedly, in order to safeguard French 
obligations to the League. Mr. Kellogg took exception to this, and 
the final form of the Treaty was consequently that of his original 
draft plus a preamble " outlawing war." For the fact is that the 
Senate looks on any reference to " wars of aggression " both as an 
illicit recognition of the League, that body having concentrated of 
late years on definitions of war as a crime, and also as an unlimited 
reservation of the full renunciation of war. 

Now, how does this negotiation affect Anglo-American naval 
relations ? In the first place the negotiations for the new Treaty 
with Great Britain have begun on the same basis. In the second 
place this "Kellogg" Treaty is little, if any, advance on the old 
" Root " Treaty. For even if the new Treaty does not injure the 
" all-in " scope of the Bryan conciliation Treaties, yet undoubtedly 
exclusions of " domestic matters " and the " Monroe doctrine " 
are even more awkward corners to steer arbitration agreements past 
han the vague " vital interests " and " national honour." Already 
Anglo-American arbitrations have taken place on issues that might 
have been considered as involving " national honour " and " vital 


interests." But an allegation that an issue involves the Monroe 
doctrine or domestic interests is more likely to be fatal in the Senate 
and may cover as wide a field. 


The fact is that the Root, Kellogg or any arbitration Treaty, with 
a reference to The Hague Court and reduced to terms likely to pass 
the Senate, is a much less valuable instrument than the Conciliation 
Treaties that hold up all disputes of any sort for a year while 
being judged by a Permanent Conciliation Commission. These 
Conciliation Treaties of 1914 have not yet been used, and the Per- 
manent Commissions have not been kept at their full complement. 
But Americans and British can always best settle disputes between 
themselves by themselves and much better than by reference to the 
arbitration of third parties. Wherefore, for the purpose of any 
possible dispute about naval affairs, in which Freedom of the Seas 
and the Monroe doctrine and naval estimates are involved, the 
conciliation procedure is a real safeguard and the arbitration pro- 
cedure is not. 

This point is well developed in the British memorandum on 
security (19th January, 1928), and the present policy of the British 
Government clearly — and correctly — favours conciliation in prefer- 
ence to arbitration. The memo, runs : — 

" 20. In 1922 the Assembly of the League adopted a resolution urging 
upon all members of the League the advantage of conciliation as a 
method of solving disputes and inviting them to conclude agreements 
for setting up conciliation commissions. With this resolution His 
Britannic Majesty's Government in Great Britain are profoundly in 
sympathy. The essence of conciliation is that it does not attempt to 
impose a settlement, but that it frames for the consideration of the 
parties to the dispute recommendations and terms calculated to compose 
the conflict of view. It thus brings to bear upon the question at issue 
the efforts of impartial and qualified statesmen free from the bias 
which is inevitable among those who are nationals of one of the countries 
which are parties to the dispute. It has also this further advantage 
that recommendations made by impartial bodies after profound study 
of the facts of the dispute are bound to merit the support of public 
opinion in other countries and will thereby possess the greatest weight 


with the States between which the dispute has arisen. 21. The 
fundamental distinction between justiciable and non- justiciable disputes 
is one that must be borne in mind in framing any model conciliation 
agreement. Justiciable disputes should be referred to bodies of men 
who are accustomed to give binding decisions and who are in consequence 
accustomed to base their decision on rules of law which are obligatory 
for the parties. Non- justiciable disputes cannot be solved by the 
application of any such rules of law. Such disputes should not, therefore, 
be submitted to bodies of judges accustomed to apply rules of law. 
Treaties which provide that where the parties do not accept the 
recommendations of a conciliation commission the dispute should be 
referred to the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague 
should be discouraged." 


Two examples of the truth of this view can be supplied from the 
personal experience of the writers. First as to Conciliation. The 
procedure of the Conciliation Treaties has never yet been used 
between British and Americans. But it is not generally known that 
its existence exercised a remarkably repressive effect on the contro- 
versies between the United States and Great Britain over the 
blockade. Without this procedure as a possible recourse, the ; 
diplomatic channel might not have been able to keep the flood of 
difficulties caused by the British blockade from sweeping away the 
bridges between the two countries. 

Next as to Arbitration. The Arbitration procedure of reference 
to The Hague Tribunal was used for the more important issues in the 
great clearing up of century-old controversies and claims between 
Great Britain and America before the war. There was then a 
general agreement between the two Governments that the time had 
come to " clean the slate " of these old scores and to write off or 
pay off bad debts against one another that were still making bad 
blood in the fourth and fifth generation. 

One of these controversies concerned a quarrel indirectly con- 
nected with the Freedom of the Seas, dating back to the War of 
Independence. The preliminary processes of the cleaning up were 
in the hands of two subordinate " scrubs," a British diplomat and 
an American State Department lawyer. The smaller questions they 
settled outright by hard haggling, the results being recorded in 


Conventions. For the larger, they had to find a procedure that 
would give the settlement more authority and guard it against 
attack. In this particular dispute, which was most contentious 
and complicated, and which incidentally might have been held to 
concern both the " Monroe doctrine " and " domestic matters," it 
was evident that the most solemn sacrifices of judicial arbitration 
would not be superfluous. So the Root Treaty was resorted to and 
the terms of reference were drawn up by the two officials. The 
Tribunal was then convened with impressive ceremonial ; and for 
weeks the Law Officers and legal luminaries of the Governments con- 
cerned made speeches of immense length and learning for corre- 
sponding fees. Then the three neutral and two national arbitrators, 
all judges or jurists of international standing, met to draw up their 
judicial award, and at once agreed that one party had won on 
certain issues and another on others. For, as one said, such an 
award was already adumbrated in the terms of reference. The two 
national arbitrators were then very sensibly assigned the drafting 
of the award, each on the issues in which his side was successful ; 
and, equally sensibly, they turned over the task to their expert 
advisers — the diplomat and lawyer — who had had themselves attached 
to the proceedings as silent and insignificant supernumeraries. 
Which, so far as judicial procedure goes, is much as though the House 
of Lords had its judgment written by the solicitors' clerks of the two 
parties. The award was then proclaimed with all due pomp, and 
published — it occupied a whole sheet of the Times — with general 
approval ; and is being applied to this day. 

Now this glimpse behind the scenes of possibly the most formal 
of the great Anglo-American judicial arbitrations has been given, 
not by way of criticizing — still less of casting suspicion on — judicial 
arbitration. The procedure followed was not only proper, but 
very practical. It ensured the necessary authority for a settlement 
without risking its actuality. The real facts have been revealed 
for the purpose of proving that British and Americans can " con- 
ciliate " their differences between themselves by themselves, if 
there is a will to settle, as there was before the war. That the actual 
wording of arbitration Treaties, even the actual working of arbitra- 
tion machinery, does not much matter except in so far as it may 
slightly hamper or help diplomacy in doing its job. And therefore 


that an international instrument, broad in its wording and bilateral 
in its working, like the Bryan Conciliation procedure, is, on the 
whole, better for settling differences in Anglo-American relations 
than the more guarded wording and more general working of a 
multi-lateral Arbitration Treaty. 

So much, then, in the way of suggestions as to what might be done 
as the first steps in the first stage of a fresh start towards peace. A 
start that must be made at once and that must not be allowed to 
stop until all danger of a further relapse on the expiration of the 
armaments moratorium under the Washington Treaty in 193 1 is 
removed. We have now to deal very briefly with the possibilities of 
a later stage. 


We have above attempted to show how the policies and proposals 
of American pacifists in the outlawry of war movement can be in the 
main and at once, accepted and furthered by British supporters of 
the League so far certainly as naval disarmament and Freedom of 
the Seas is concerned. We have now to show how, if such an 
association between the two movements can be arranged for the 
establishment of a peace at sea, it might lead on to the extension of 
that peace to the land. This is looking on beyond our immediate 
objective. But one of our arguments in advocating an Anglo- 
American association for Freedom of the Seas is that it is a necessary 
foundation on which to rebuild a real peace out of the ruins left by 
the Great War. It will already have become clear from the previous 
pages that one of the principal obstacles, at present, to an Anglo- 
American association for the restoration of peace in Europe is the 
League itself. And that the British can get such an association for 
peace at sea without reconstituting the League provided they recog- 
nize and respect American objections to it in its present form. But 
they cannot get such an association for peace on land without such 
a radical reconstruction of the League as will remove those objections. 

The fundamental American objection to the League is that it is not 
a democratic institution representing the peoples of the world for the 
realization of international ideals ; but that it is a diplomatic Institute 
representing the principal European Powers for the realization of 


their imperialist interests. Further, that this metamorphosis is 
largely due to British diplomacy — that the British have assured 
themselves a predominant position in the League — and that they, 
in conjunction with their allies, have used their predominance for 
their own purposes. Consequently, the more British League 
propagandists preach the " Divine Right of the League," the more 
these American Ironsides and Independents are confirmed in rebellion 
against it. There is indeed no present prospect whatever of per- 
suading Americans to subject themselves to the sanctions of what 
the majority of them look upon as a sinister body, or even to support 
a system that most of them consider mere camouflage for secret 
diplomacy. There are moreover not a few British supporters of the 
League who consider that this American opposition is wholesome. 
For the obvious necessity for securing the adhesion to the League 
of Americans and of Russians is the best guarantee that we shall get 
in the near future that reorganization and revitalization of the 
League that most Europeans and many English recognize to be 
urgently required. 

It would be outside the scope of this work to develop in detail a 
reconstruction of the League and a redrafting of the Covenant 
that would make possible the accession of America. It must be 
enough to indicate how an Anglo-American association would render 
more easy the approach of America to a reconstructed League. 

Without an Anglo-American bridge across the Atlantic and with a 
European League excluding the United States and the Soviet 
Union the world is not organized in a Confederation of Peace, but 
rather in three rival continental systems — European, American, and 
Asiatic ; with a fourth, Africa, as an enfant terrible. We must 
remember that the Monroe doctrine was a reaction and revolt against 
the Holy Alliance — the League of a century ago : that the pan- 
American and pan-Islamic movements were reactions against the 
Concert of Europe — the League of a generation ago : and that the 
present Soviet system, with its pan-Asiatic ramifications and the 
American " Big Navy " and " War Outlawry " movements are in 
reaction and in revolt against the League of to-day. 

An analysis of the political problems of the present day shows 
that they group themselves regionally round the four Continents. 
The problems of Africa are as yet inseparable politically from those 


of Europe. Those of Asia are in course of swift separation ; though 
such separation is retarded by the rivalry between the British Empire 
and the Soviet Union. Those of America are already separated 
under the hegemony of the United States. The present constitution 
of the League ignores this political process. But a practical recogni- 
tion of it in the constitution of the League would remove most 
of the fundamental objections that are felt by Americans and 
Russians. For the United States will not enter the present League 
for fear of being entangled in European affairs, such as guarantees 
of the present frontiers. The Soviet Union will not come in for fear 
of very similar entanglements. Both Americans and Russians are 
suspicious of Western and Central European intrigues and im- 
perialism. Both feel that they would be in a minority and might 
be put under force majeure in a League under British and French 
control. Both feel that the present League's organization represents 
a system which is foreign to their ideals and interests and which 
they are content should continue to be so. 


The remedy, which we need only consider as far as the United 
States are concerned, though it applies in both cases, would seem to 
be a further and more formal recognition of the fundamental facts 
above mentioned, by a regional reconstruction of the League. We 
say a further and formal recognition advisedly. Because circum- 
ances have been steadily forcing the practical recognition of this 
regional principle even within the confines of Europe itself. The 
impossibility of getting guarantees of frontier settlements, or other 
forms of security, from States geographically distant and politically 
indifferent, has caused the general guarantee of Art. 10 of the 
Covenant to be supplemented and even supplanted by regional 
alliances. This dangerous tendency to substitute security by armed 
alliances for the security of the League sanction caused an effort to 
reconstruct the League more in accordance with real conditions. 
Thus, Lord Cecil, in 1922, suggested to the Council that there should 
be continental associations to deal with strictly continental systems. 
The idea was not taken up, but reappeared in 1923 in the recom- 
mendation, made in connection with disarmament, that the nations 


of each geographic area should make a separate agreement for their 
mutual security. It reappeared in 1924, in rather more restricted 
form, in the Protocol. And finally, this regional idea is reproduced 
in a still more restricted form — that brings it very far away from the 
original Covenant and very near to an armed alliance — in the Locarno 

It is also the principle underlying the Four-Power Treaty as to the 
Pacific, negotiated at Washington and altogether outside the 
League system. We see, therefore, in this tendency towards a regional 
reconstruction of the League, the road along which America may 
some day reach it and revitalize it. 

As things are, the League only avoids a collision with the United 
States by a tacit and tactful recognition that American affairs are 
outside its de facto jurisdiction, and by resigning any such issues to 
the pan-American Union and its Conferences. But, on the other 
hand, there are many activities of the League in which the United 
States and other American peoples are as much interested as any 
European people or Government. For the work of the League 
easily divides itself into world-wide services, on the one hand, and 
into the settlement of European affairs, on the other. In the former 
activities the United States can participate. And so indispensable 
is such participation in the interests of herself and of others, that she 
does so participate in spite of the present prejudice against the 
League. The Senate accurately expressed the American anti- 
League attitude when, in ratifying the treaties with Germany and 
Austria (25th August, 1921), it added a reservation — 

" that the United States shall not be represented or participate in any 
body, agency, or commission, nor shall any person represent the United 
States as a member of any body, agency, or commission in which the 
United States is authorised to participate by this Treaty unless and until 
an act of Congress shall provide for such representation or participation." 

This reproduces one of the reservations originally attached to the 
unratified Treaty of Versailles and materially modifies Sec. 4 of Art. II 
of the Treaties which provides that " while the United States is 
privileged to participate M in any such Commissions or agreements, 
" it is not bound to participate." The reservation was criticized by 
Mr. Wickersham, an ex- Attorney General, as "an unconstitutional 


invasion of the Executive power by the Senate." Nevertheless the 
reservation has been respected formally by the Executive. 

The United States have, however, thought it necessary in the 
public interest to be represented by an " Advisory Delegation " or 
" Unofficial Observers " on the Permanent Advisory Committee on 
opium and by delegations to the Conferences dealing with Public 
Health, Relief, Traffic in Women and Children, Traffic in Arms, 
Communications, Customs, and many matters of general interest. 
As to the status of these delegations, and observers, Mr. Secretary 
Hughes stated — 

" They are unofficial simply in the sense that they are not and cannot 
properly become members of the League organization. But so far as our 
Government is concerned they represent it just as completely as those 
designated by the President always have represented our government." 

As for unofficial co-operation, American Societies, like the Society of 
International Law, the Bureau of Social Hygiene, the United States 
Chamber of Commerce, etc., co-operate with the League. Also 
American finance subscribed five million pounds for the League's 
financial reconstruction of Austria and one million, five hundred 
thousand for the relief of Hungary. We have, therefore, plenty of 
evidence of these two facts : that America will take no part in 
League solutions of political problems in Europe, but will take part 
in the League's general services to civilization. And this is consonant 
with the policy of the Senate as above cited and with the point of 
view of the American people as above indicated. Though it would be 
advantageous perhaps to make this relationship to the League clearer 
on the point of principle. 

But this ambiguous acceptance of an association with the League 
has not prevented Americans from pursuing their own pan- American 
regulation of international issues — political — legal — and social. 
We have no space to review pan-American organizations or even to 
report on their position in the world. But it would seem that in 
spite of lively internal rivalries and a rather meagre record of 
practical results, pan-Americanism represents a real force. The list 
of pan-American Conferences covering almost every common interest 
of the two countries shows great activity and a certain solidarity. 
Recent suggestions for developing the Washington Governing Board 


of the Union into an American League of Nations show a movement 
that Geneva would do well to meet half-way. President Wilson's 
proposal, that afterwards became Art. 10 of the Covenant, was first 
made with reference to American States only. (January 1916). 
Mr. Taft thus endorsed this proposal — 

" A League of Nations in the Western Hemisphere would be a definite 
and a long step towards a League in both hemispheres." 

It is not our province here to examine how the pan-American 
Union can be developed into a regional League of Nations for the 
American Continent. The recent Conference at Havana indicates 
that in this the Americans have no easy task. Nor shall we here 
examine how such a regional League would be brought into relations 
with a reconstructed League for European affairs and a central 
League organization for the whole world to which these regional 
Leagues would refer. We would only suggest to Americans that 
such a regional American League in relation with a central League 
authority would be a fulfilment of the Monroe doctrine that would 
work with less friction than a pan-American Union in which the 
United States were very much the predominant partner. It would 
in fact meet the desire of the United States to exercise a practical 
protectorate over the American continent ; while meeting the desire 
of the South American States for protection in principle by the 
League. We would also suggest to our fellow countrymen that such 
a regional reorganization of the League would enable us to retain, 
for a time at least, our predominance in European affairs without 
this excluding, as it now does, both Americans and Russians from the 

Both Americans and British would give up something. Americans 
would give up the idea that the pan-American Union or any other 
American association can be made to rival or replace the League. 
The British would give up the hope of dominating the central 
authority of the League with the help of the Dominion representatives 
and European allies. But neither of these aspirations are sound. 
The pan- American Union and the British Empire would be all the 
better for not being exploited for these purposes. 

In this more complex but far more complete League Federation 
there will be a place for an Anglo-American armed neutrality guaran- 


teeing the peace and police of the seas. In our opinion this Sea League 
would be so distinct, both fundamentally and functionally, from the 
continental and regional Leagues above suggested, that it should 
be in direct relations with the supreme and central authority of the 
new League Federation of the world. Like the continental Leagues, 
this Sea League would settle its own maritime and mercantile 
problems, subject to its solutions being co-ordinated and controlled 
by the central authority in the interests of the world as a whole. 

In short, such an Anglo-American association for sea police and 
self-protection, with the accession of other sea Powers, will not only 
make possible an immediate rehabilitation of the international 
aw of the seas, but will also make probable an eventual reorganization 
of the League. 


Before closing, let us briefly review the line of advance here laid 
down for the two peoples — for their public authorities — and for their 
pacifist movements. The successive steps are as follows — 

(A) A revision of the " Root " Arbitration Treaty and of the 
" Bryan ■- Conciliation Treaty which shall renounce and outlaw war 
as between the two peoples and impose an obligation to arbitrate 
all strictly judicial issues so far as the United States Constitution 
allows. But which shall not attempt to impose arbitration on all 
issues and shall rather rely on conciliation procedure as a preventive 
against war. 

(B) A naval disarmament agreement which shall leave to either 
party the indispensable liberty of action for self -protection, subject 
to financial limitations. This agreement should establish the 
principle — (1) that naval armaments shall be reduced, by ratio, 
to the lowest limit required for sea police — (2) that police operations, 
such as blockade, bombardment, etc., be only undertaken with the 
association or approval of the other parties — and (3) that the Narrow 
Seas be neutralized by regional agreements. These arrangements 
beingmade as general as possible by the accession of other sea Powers. 

(C) A conference for the revision of international law on the 
basis of the prohibition of the traffic in arms and of the subjection of 
naval warfare in such extreme forms as economic blockade to general 


(D) A conference for the reorganization of the League on such a 
regional basis as will allow of the accession of the United States and 
of the Soviet Union to a Federated League. 

All these proposals follow fairly obvious lines of least resistance in 
which bad mistakes are not likely once the first move is made. 
But where mistakes are probable and where they would be most 
fatal is in taking these moves in the wrong order. For example, 
there is talk of calling a conference for the revision of international 
law — the third move — before the second move — a naval disarma- 
ment agreement — is finished. This would only mean another 
Conference like that of the Hague that would resolve itself into 
a melee of experts manoeuvring for a national advantage. 


In conclusion, the writers wish to add that, though their arguments 
are adapted to the policies of the rulers and to the points of view 
of the ruling class of either party, they are addressed to the public 
opinion of the two peoples. It is to the citizens who pay the taxes t 
man the fleets, march in the armies, make and unmake the govern- 
ments, that this appeal is submitted. 

Just before the breakdown of the Geneva Conference, a leading 
British statesman holding high office, said to one of the writers that 
there was room in the world for two great peoples like Great Britain 
and America. That is true. But the trouble is that these two peoples 
have already grown so great that they will be treading on each others 
toes or heels unless they can agree as to rules of the road for their 
common pathway to prosperity — the Sea. It has also been said that 
they are big enough to be able to differ. We would rather submit 
here that they are big enough to be able to agree. 

Will some future historian of their relations by land or sea — some 
Bryce or Mahan of the next generation — have to record the bluffing 
and blustering of two armed " gunmen " warily eyeing each other 
over a poker-game, or the brotherhood of two gendarmes guarding 
the peace of the world. These two peoples are great enough and 
generous enough to behave to each other as gentlemen and to spare 
the world the spectacle of a rivalry between their protectors and their 
peace-makers that frustrates the efforts of all men of good will for 
making a better world 



A. (i) Diplomatic History of the Rush-Bagot Agreement 

THE first complaint under the Agreement came in 1838 when 
the American Government called the attention of the British 
Government to the presence on Lake Erie of vessels hired and 
armed by the authorities of Upper Canada to prevent incursions 
of persons promoting rebellion in that province. The British Government 
undertook that this armament would be " discontinued at the earliest 
possible period after the causes creating the danger ceased to exist." 
(25th November, 1838.) In the autumn of 1839 tne United States Govern- 
ment asked that this assurance be made good and, owing to rumours of 
additional armaments, an appropriation for American armament was 
voted but no such addition was made. . . . The United States Government 
again called attention to the matter two years later (25th September, 1841) 
with reference to two steamships of 500 tons, capable of carrying twenty 
guns, as exceeding the limitations of the agreement, and asked for an 
assurance that they be only used for the " sole purpose of guarding 
H.M. provinces from hostile attack." This assurance was given (30th 
November, 1841) and the incident was closed. 

In 1844 the United States Government launched on Lake Erie the 
Michigan of 498 tons with two 8-inch guns and four 32-pound carronnades. 
The British Government asked for explanations and the United States 
replied referring to British vessels of larger tonnage than that authorised 
by the agreement and suggested a revision in view of changed conditions; 
Nothing was done, and the larger vessels on both sides remained in use ; 
the Michigan being under the Navy Department and not a revenue 

In 1864, in order to stop Confederate operations from Canadian 
territory, the United States Government chartered two screw steamers 
and gave the requisite six months' notice to terminate the agreement 
(23rd November, 1864). But, on the collapse of the Confederate cause, 



they withdrew the notice (March, 1865). From the ensuing correspondence 
it seems to have been accepted on both sides that the limitations should 
no longer apply to revenue vessels. No naval vessels were thereafter 
employed on either side. The opening of the Great Lakes to the sea 
changed radically their strategical situation ; but the arrangement 
nevertheless remained in force. Its revision was referred to the Joint 
High Commission set up for settlement of American and Canadian 
questions (30th May, 1898), but nothing resulted. The original agreement 
is therefore morally in force, though materially its limitations are 
liberally interpreted. 

(2) Text of Agreement 

The naval force to be maintained on the American Lakes by His 
Majesty and the Government of the United States shall henceforth be 
confined to the following vessels on each side ; that is : 

On Lake Ontario to one vessel not exceeding 100 tons burden with 
one 18-pound cannon. 

On the Upper Lakes to two vessels not exceeding a like burden, each 
armed with like force. 

On the waters of Lake Champlain to one vessel not exceeding a like 
burden and armed with like force. 

All other armed vessels on these Lakes shall be forthwith dismantled 
and no other vessels of war shall be there built or armed. 

If either party should hereafter be desirous of annulling this stipulation 
and should give notice to the effect to the other party it shall cease to be 
binding after the expiration of six months from the date of such notice. 

The naval force so to be limited shall be restricted to such services 
as will in no respect interfere with the proper duties of the armed vessels 
of the other party. 

B. League of Nations Covenant. (Extracts) 

Article 10 

The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as 
against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political 
independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such 
aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the 
Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be 


Article 16 

Should any Member of the League resort to war in disregard of its 
covenants under Articles 12, 13 or 15, it shall ipso facto be deemed to 
have committed an act of war against all other Members of the League, 
which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of 
all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between 
their nationals and the nationals of the covenant-breaking State, and 
the prevention of all financial, commercial or personal intercourse between 
the nationals of the covenant-breaking State and the nationals of any 
other State, whether a Member of the League or not. 

It shall be the duty of the Council in such case to recommend to the 
several Governments concerned what effective military, naval or air 
force the Members of the League shall severally contribute to the armed 
forces to be used to protect the covenants of the League. 

The Members of the League agree, further, that they will mutually 
support one another in the financial and economic measures which are 
taken under this Article, in order to minimize the loss and inconvenience 
resulting from the above measures, and that they will mutually support 
one another in resisting any special measures aimed at one of their 
number by the covenant-breaking State, and that they will take the 
necessary steps to afford passage through their territory to the forces 
of any of the Members of the League which are co-operating to protect 
the covenants of the League. 

Any Member of the League which has violated any covenant of the 
League may be declared to be no longer a Member of the League by a 
vote of the Council, concurred in by the Representatives of all the other 
Members of the League represented thereon. 


A. Resolution Submitted to the Senate by Senator Borah 
(9th December, 1926) 

Whereas war is the greatest existing menace to society and has become 
so expensive and destructive that it not only causes the stupendous 
burdens of taxation now afflicting our people but threatens to engulf 
and destroy civilization ; and 

Whereas civilization has been marked in its upward trend out of 
barbarism into its present condition by the development of law and 
courts to supplant methods of violence and force ; and 


Whereas the genius of civilization has discovered but two methods of 
compelling the settlement of human disputes, namely, law and war, and 
therefore, in any plan for the compulsory settlement of international 
controversies, we must choose between war on the one hand and the 
process of law on the other ; and 

Whereas war between nations has always been and still is a lawful 
institution, so that any nation may, with or without cause, declare war 
against any other nation and be strictly within its legal lights ; and 

Whereas revolutionary war or wars of liberation are illegal and 
criminal ; to wit, high treason ; whereas under existing international 
law wars between nations to settle disputes are perfectly lawful ; and 

Whereas the overwhelming moral sentiment of civilized people every- 
where is against the cruel and destructive institution of war ; and 

Whereas all alliances, leagues, or plans which rely upon war as the 
ultimate power for the enforcement of peace carry the seeds either of 
their own destruction or of military dominancy to the utter subversion of 
liberty and justice ; and 

Whereas we must recognize the fact that resolutions or treaties out- 
lawing certain methods of killing will not be effective so long as war 
itself remains lawful ; and that in international relations we must have, 
not rules and regulations of war but organic laws against war ; and 

Whereas in our Constitutional Convention of 1787 it was successfully 
contended by Madison, Hamilton, and Ellsworth that the use of force 
when applied to people collectively, that is, to states or nations, was 
unsound in principle and would be tantamount to a declaration or war ; 

Whereas we have in our Federal Supreme Court a practical and 
effective model for a real international court, as it has specific jurisdiction 
to hear and decide controversies between our sovereign States ; and 

Whereas our Supreme Court has exercised this jurisdiction without 
resort to force for one hundred and thirty-seven years, during which 
time scores of controversies have been judicially and peaceably settled 
that might otherwise have led to war between the States, and thus 
furnishes a practical exemplar for the compulsory and pacific settlement 
of international controversies ; and 

Whereas an international arrangement of such judicial character 
would not shackle the Independence or impair the sovereignty of any 
nation, and would not involve or affect the right of self-defense against 
invasion or attack, such right being inherent and ineradicable, but 
should not be a mere subterfuge for the traditional use of war : Now 
therefore, be it 


Resolved : That it is the view of the Senate of the United States that 
war between nations should be outlawed as an institution or means for 
the settlement of international controversies by making it a public crime 
under the law of nations and that every nation should be encouraged 
by solemn agreement or treaty to bind itself to indict and punish its own 
international war breeders or instigators and war profiteers under powers 
similar to those conferred upon our Congress under Article I, Section 8, 
of our Federal Constitution which clothes the Congress with the power 
" to define and punish offenses against the law of nations " ; and be it 

Resolved further : That a code of international law of peace based upon 
the outlawing of war and on the principle of equality and justice between 
all nations, amplified and expanded and adapted and brought down to 
date should be created and adopted. 

Second : That, with war outlawed, a judicial substitute for war should 
be created (or, if existing in part, adapted and adjusted) in the form or 
nature of an international court, modelled on our Federal Supreme Court 
in its jurisdiction over controversies between our sovereign States ; 
such court shall possess affirmative jurisdiction to hear and decide all 
purely international controversies, as defined by the code or arising under 
treaties, and its judgments shall not be enforced by war under any name 
or in any form whatever, but shall have the same power for their enforce- 
ment as our Federal Supreme Court, namely, the respect of all enlightened 
nations for judgments resting upon open and fair investigations and 
impartial decisions, the agreement of the nations to abide and be bound 
by such judgments, and the compelling power of enlightened public 

B. Resolution Submitted to the Senate by Senator Capper 

Whereas, the Congress of the United States on August 29th, 1916, 
solemnly declared it to be " the policy of the United States to adjust and 
settle its international disputes through mediation or arbitration, to the 
end that war may be honourably avoided," and 

Whereas, Aristide Briand, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the French 
Republic, on April 6th, 1927, publicly declared to the people of the 
United States that " France would be willing to subscribe publicly with 
the United States to any mutual engagement tending to outlaw war, to 
use an American expression, as between these two countries," and 
proposed that the two countries enter into an agreement providing for 
the " renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy " ; and 

Whereas, there has been strong expression of opinion from the people 


and the press of the United States in favour of suitable action by our 
Government to give effect to the proposal of Monsieur Briand ; and 

Whereas, the present arbitration treaty between the United States 
and France providing for the submission to arbitration of difficulties of 
a legal nature arising between them will terminate on February 27th, 
1928 ; and 

Whereas, the United States being desirous of securing peaceful settle- 
ment of international disputes and the general renunciation of war as 
an instrument of policy should not be under obligation to furnish protec- 
tion for such of its nationals as aid or abet the breach of similar agreements 
between other nations ; now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled : 

That it be declared to be the policy of the United States : 

I. By treaty with France and other like-minded nations formally 
to renounce war as an instrument of public policy and to adjust and settle 
its international disputes by mediation, arbitration and conciliation ; 

II. By formal declaration to accept the definition of aggressor nation 
as one which, having agreed to submit international differences to con- 
ciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement, begins hostilities without 
having done so ; and 

III. By treaty with France and other like-minded nations to declare 
that the nationals of the contracting governments should not be protected 
by their governments in giving aid and comfort to an aggressor nation 
(later amended to " belligerent nation " ) ; and be it further 

Resolved, that the President be requested to enter into negotiations 
with France and other like-minded nations for the purpose of concluding 
treaties with such nations, in furtherance of the declared policy of the 
United States. 

C. Resolution Introduced by Congressman Burton 

To prohibit the exportation of arms, munitions, or implements of war to 
certain foreign countries. 

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress Assembled : 

That it is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to 
prohibit the exportation of arms, munitions or implements of war to any 


country which engages in aggressive warfare against any other country 
in violation of a treaty, convention, or other agreement to resort to 
arbitration or other peaceful means for the settlement of international 

Sec. 2. Whenever the President determines that any country has 
violated any such treaty, convention, or agreement by engaging in 
aggressive warfare against any other country, and makes proclamation 
thereof, it shall be unlawful, until otherwise proclaimed by the President, 
or provided by act of Congress, to export any arms, munitions or 
implements of war from any place in the United States or any possession 
thereof to such country, or to any other country if the ultimate destination 
of such arms, munitions, or implements of war is the country so violating 
any such treaty, convention or agreement. 

Sec. 3. Whoever exports any arms, munitions, or implements of war 
in violation of Section 2 of this Resolution, shall, upon conviction thereof, 
be punished by a fine not exceeding $10,000, or by imprisonment not 
exceeding two years, or both. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of 
the Treasury to report any violation of Section 2 of this Resolution to 
the United States District Attorney for the district wherein the violation 
is alleged to have been committed. 

D. Resolution adopted by the Labour Party Annual 
Conference at Blackpool, October, 1927. 

" The Conference calls upon the Government to reopen negotiations 
with the United States with a view to the settlement of all outstanding 
political questions between them, including the question of the control 
of the sea in time of war, the conclusion of a treaty outlawing war between 
the two peoples, and a drastic reduction of naval armaments." 


Aaland Islands, 157, 224 

Admiralty, formation of Plans 
Division, 95 

Aeroplane, menace against mer- 
chant ships, 108, 109, no, 112, 
116, 117, 120, 173, 188 

Aeroplanes, destruction of war- 
ships by, 115, 116 

Aggression, wars of, 52, 240, 259 

Air Power, importance of, 114, 

ii5, 117 
Alabama, 48 

American Civil War, 45, 47 
American-Spanish War, 48 
Anglo-American co-operation dur- 
ing war, effects of, 95, 96, 97 
Anglo-American War of 1812, its 
causes, 36, 37 ; its conclusion, 


Anglo- Japanese Alliance, 156, 

157, 158 
Anti- Aircraft Gunnery, 113 

Arbitration, Anglo-American 
Treaty of, 257, 258, 259, 261 

Armed Neutrality, Anglo- 
American, 31, 31, 41, 55, 61, 

III, 187, 213, 220, 228, 245, 

248, 250, 268 ; first, 21 ; second, 
3*i 32, 35 ; in future, 30 ; 
American, in Great War, 69 
Armistice Terms, Freedom of 
Seas deleted, 140, 141 


Bahamas, 252 
Bainville, Jacques, 254 
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley, 164, 

165, 169, 170, 195 
Balfour, Lord, 154, 155, 158, 177, 

179, 184, 195 
Barbary Pirates, 38 
Beatty, Admiral Lord, 154, 158 
Benson, Rear-Admiral W. S., 143, 

Berlin Decree, 35 
Blockade, close, difficulties of, 63, 

127 ; modern, 67, 68, 70, 77, 

117, 122, 125, 126, 235, 237, 238 
Borah, Senator, 153, 233, 253, 273 
Briand, M., 158, 159, 259 
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. W., 168, 

169, 170, 173, 174, 181, 186 
Bristol, Admiral, 226 
Bryan Conciliation Treaties, 250, 

259, 269 
Bryce, Lord, 136, 270 
Burton Congressman, 276 

California, U.S.S., poison gas 

practice, 112 
Canada, influence at Washington 

of, 196, 206 
Capper, Senator, 240, 275, 276 




Cecil of Chelwood, Lord, 170, 177, 
179, 182, 256, 265 

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir 
Austen, 169, 179, 195, 197, 218, 
256, 257 

Childers, Erskine, 100 

Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, 17, 
73, 165, 178, 179, 182, 220 

Clemenceau, Monsieur, 184 

Commerce destruction in former 
wars, 102, 103, 104 ; pro- 
tection under modern condi- 
tions, 106, 107, 108 

Contraband of war, 59, 60, 61, 71, 
128, 234, 236 

Coolidge, President, 166, 167, 171, 
173, 183, 193 

Cruiser Building Programme of 
Naval Powers, 165, 194, 198 

Cruisers, armament of, discussed 
at Geneva, 176, 177, 181, 183 ; 
British demand for, 163, 164, 
165, 173, 174 ; British pro- 
posals at Geneva, 172 ; offen- 
sive and defensive classes, 175 

Cushenden, Lord, 172 

Debts, War, American policy 

towards, 150, 151, 207 
Declaration of London, 62, 64, 68, 

132, 136 
Deciphering Organization, 79, 80 
Declaration of Paris, 44, 45, 124, 

128, 129, 130, 136 
Decoding Organization, 79, 80 
Denmark, shipping losses in 

Great War, 87 
Disarmament, Russian proposals, 

189, 225 ; Preparatory Com- 
mission, 167, 172 
Dogger Bank Fishing Fleet, 

attacked by Baltic Fleet, 55 

Emden, 104, 106, 121 

Fisher, Admiral of the Fleet, Lord, 

98, 100 
Fortescue, Sir John, 182 
Franz Fischer, first merchant ship 

sunk by aircraft, 109 
French Congressmen, 192 

Geneva Naval Conference, 1927, 
22, 146, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 
171, 173, 174, 177, 178, 181, 183, 
184, 186, 188, 189, 190, 192, 195, 
215, 222, 270 

Geneva Protocol, 250 

Gibson, Mr., 173 

Gladstone, Mr. W. E., and Franco- 
Prussian War, 52 

Grey, Sir Edward, 135, 136, 137 

Groves, General, C.B., C.M.G., 6, 


Hague Peace Conference, 1907, 56, 
57, 58, 61, 65, 69, 132, 222 

Haldane, Viscount, 124 

Harding, President, 149, 150, 152, 
153, 158, 160, 163 

Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, 17 

House, Colonel, 73, 135, 136, 

Hughes, Secretary, 149, 153, 201, 



Imperial Defence, Committee of, 
124, 179 

Italy, attitude to Geneva Con- 
ference, 168 ; proposals for 
limiting Air Force, 187 

Japan, attitude at Geneva, 172, 
*73y x 79 I difficulty of blockad- 
ing, 127 

Jellicoe, Admiral Lord, 170 

Jones, Admiral, 174 

Jones, Paul, 30, 31 


Kato, Admiral, 154, 179 
Kellogg, Mr. Secretary, 184, 186, 

258, 259 
Kenworthy, Commander, record 

of, 7 
Kim, 1915, 46, 47 
Knight Commander, case of, 54 

Labour Government in Britain, 
attitude of, 164, 189, 211, 218, 
219, 251 
Labour Government in Britain 

and Locarno Conference, 169 
La Follette, Senator, 141 
Lansing-Ishii Agreement, 156 
League of Nations, 26, 42, 124, 

125, 133, 134, 137, I39» 142, 
143, 144, 146, 148, 149, 151, 
158, 160, 167, 189, 197, 212, 
213, 252, 253, 255, 260, 263, 
264, 265, 266, 267, 272, 273 

Lee, Lord, 52, 158, 214, 215 
Lichnowsky, Prince, 204 
Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. D., 17, 93, 

94. 195. 254 
Locarno, Pact of, 42, 158, 253, 

254, 266 ; Conference, 169 
Lodge, Senator, 141, 153, 231 
London, Declaration of, 62, 64, 

68, 71, 132, 136 
Lusitania, 72, 76, 144 


MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R., 164, 

195, 256 
Mahan, Admiral, 24, 67, 78, 270 
Maine, U.S.S., 49 
Maritime Convention (1801-1807), 

Monroe Doctrine, 34, 48, 49, 50, 

82, 139, 142, 196, 205, 206, 209, 

216, 241, 253, 260, 268 
Munitions of war, private trade in, 

235> 236 
Murray, Professor Gilbert, 139 
Mutsu, 155, 166 


Navy League, 168, 171, 191 
Nelson, H.M.S., 155, 166, 174 
Newberry, Senator, 141 
Norris, Senator, 148 
Norway, shipping losses, Great 
War, 87 


Oleron, laws of, 18 

Outlawry of war, 208, 209, 221, 
231, 232, 233, 235, 238, 239, 
241, 248, 253, 258, 263, 273, 
274, 275 



Papacy and Freedom of Seas, 20, 

21, 26, 132 
Paris, Declaration of, 44, 45, 124, 

128, 129, 130, 136 
Patrick, Major-General Mason, 

115, 187 
Pauncefote, Lord, 50, 51, 57 
Persia and Freedom of Air, 24 
Piracy, menace of, 18, 19 
Pius, Emperor Antoninus, 18 
Plans Division, formation of, 95 
Poison gas from aeroplanes, 112 
Ponsonby, Arthur, 165 
Privateering, 63, 186 
Prize Court Bill, 64 
Prizes of war, destruction of, 62, 


Protocol, Geneva, 250, 257 


Reprisals order in Council, 73, 127, 

Restormel, s.s., 53 
Rodney, H.M.S., 155, 166, 174 
Roosevelt, President, 57, 230 
Root, Mr., 57, 58, 153 
Root Arbitration Treaty (1908), 

258, 262 
Rush-Bagot Agreement, 17, 40, 

41, 42, 43, 213, 222, 223, 271, 

Russo-Japanese War, 54, 86 
Russia, disarmament proposals, 

189, 225 

Saito, Viscount, 170 
Scheer, Admiral von, 185 
Sea Power, only tolerated as sea 
police, 16 ; in Trojan War, 16 

Seeley, Major-General, 111 
Senate, position of in U.S.A., 228, 

230, 260 
Seven Years' War, 152 
Singapore, naval base, 161 
Spain, shipping losses in Great 

War, 86 
Spee, Count von, 104, 105 
Strategy, naval, effect of new 
weapons on, 102, 103, 104, 105, 
106, 107, 108, 109, no, 117, 118, 
Submarines, world-building pro- 
grammes of, 108 
Submarine Campaign, 72, 83, 85 ; 

results, 89, 90, 119 
Submarines, prohibition of, 184, 
185, 186, 187 ; German losses 
in Great War, 99 ; British pro- 
posals at Geneva, 172 
Sussex, s.s., y^, 75 
Sweden, shipping losses in Great 
War, 88 

Taft, ex-President, 230, 268 
Thompson, General Rt. Hon. 

Lord, no 
Trojan War, 16 
Tyrell, Sir William, 136 


United States Naval Advisory 
Staff, 143 

Versailles, Treaty of, 42, 183, 188, 
232, 250 




Washington Naval Conference, 
1921, 22, 41, 106, 107, 123, 153, 
154, 156, 158, 159, 160, 162, 
163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 
171, 172, 175, 176, 177, 178, 
179, 183, 184, 186, 187, 197, 

Weapons, alteration in, effects on 
strategy, 102, 103, 104, 105, 
106, 107, 108, 109, no, 117, 
118, 119 

Wemyss, Admiral Lord Wester, 
124, 125, 129 

Wilbur, Mr., 192 

Wilson, Field-Marshal Sir Henry, 
94, 140, 197 

Wilson, President Woodrow, 17, 
34, 78, 91, 135, 137, 138, 139, 
140, 141, 142, 143, 145, 148, 
150, 152, 153, 158, 160, 165, 
228, 230 

Wolf, German cruiser, 105, 106, 

Young, George, record of, 8 






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